It is as important to teach our children kindness as it is to teach them things like reading, math or safety. Some children have a harder time reading social cues of others or putting themselves in someone else’s shoes. It is up to us to model and teach how to be kind.
- Do a compliment circle at dinner. Each person can give a compliment to someone else in your family. In some families, every person compliments every person (including themselves).
- As a family, make a practice, at least once a week of noticing and reflecting on one kind thing someone did to you and one kind thing you did for someone else (they don’t have to be family members).
- Reflect on how you talk about others. Do you make fun of strangers, or talk badly about friends or relatives when they are not there? Do you treat pets, spouse, or even your children with respect? Your words about being kind will have little impact if your actions do not match.
- Involve your children in discussions about feelings. Listen with your heart when they are sharing their emotions with you. Observe other people – in the park, on TV or in movies. Ask your child, “What do you think that person is feeling?”
- Discuss with your child how their behavior impacts others. “How do you think she felt when you said you didn’t want to be her friend?” “What might you feel if that happened to you?”
- Notice the abundance in your family. Encourage children to come up with ideas for sharing or giving away toys or clothing they no longer need or want.
- Children are hardwired to be helpful. Even very young children can help set the table, fold towels, and tear up lettuce for a salad. As they get older have them continue to contribute by sharing in the daily household work.
Take a look at the Random Acts of Kindness website. Maybe your family would like to sign up to be random acts of kindness activists.