As parents, we often do everything in our power to ensure our children achieve great success in school and in the future.
However, are we also making sure they grow up to be kind and caring individuals?
In the world we live in today, values seem to be slipping away every day. It is our job to make sure that values do not become extinct and that our children live in a better world by starting from within our families.
Thankfully, raising children to be kind and caring is not impossible. Humans are inclined to feel for others pain as much as we are inclined to be indifferent – meaning, with proper guidance and support, children can be taught to care.
Raising your child to be kind takes a few steps:
Make kindness a priority
Present values learning, especially kindness, as your family’s number one priority. Let your kids realize how important this value is for you.
Make being kind your number 1 rule. Everything else should be governed this rule. In short, every action in the house would need to answer to the question “is it being kind?”
Call your children’s attention every time they did a kind act . This will let them know which actions are kind by labeling. Let them know, loud and clear, that you approve of such actions
Establish routines at home
Children learn through repeated exposure.
Making sure that kindness is included in their routine and everyday activities and interactions ingrains kindness in them.
Let your children participate in chores at home. Teach them that helping out around the house is a kind gesture.
Let them participate without feeling resentful towards the chores by making them help out at something they like and make a big deal out of it every time your child tries to help.
Give opportunities for your child to socialize. Help your child have kind interactions with other children by reminding them to:
Use gentle hands when playing. Sometimes children get too excited to play with another child or a pet that they play roughly. Tenderly reminding them to be gentle and showing them how to do it properly is the best way to go as children do not usually intend to harm others.
Use kind words
Teach them to use kind words when they deal with other people. The best way to do this is to use kind words yourself and avoid the use of harsh words especially when your child is around.
Have sweet thoughts
Praise your child for every sweet thought she has for the family and others as well. Empower your child’s thoughts by brainstorming ways on how you can act upon
the sweet ideas.
In addition, couple sweet thoughts with active caring by taking part in community or other group outreach programs and the like. Get involved and be active so your children can imbibe the spirit of kindness.
Your child may still be young but you can already teach your child how real friends are made. Let them learn to build friendships based on kindness and not through being mean or by being pressured by peers to belong with a certain group.
As early as possible, teach your child not to engage in name calling. Let her know how hurtful it can be to be called something other than your name.
Moreover, coach your child how to treat friends nicely without being taken advantage of by others, Let them know that not speaking to other children and not including them is also being unkind.
Promote your child’s natural tendency to empathize. Sometimes, as adults, our actions teach our children the opposite by acting jaded, probably due to our own experience. Therefore, we have to be careful with our actions and words so that we do not pass our cynical views o our children.
Include other people
We all live in a bigger community, kindness, therefore, should not stop from within our homes and a few friends from schools. Remember, our children will eventually step out of the schools and live in the real world so we have to prepare that world as something conducive for our children by making sure everyone still knows how to be nice and kind.
When you are with your child and you encounter someone being mean respond with understanding. Tell your child, for example, “Maybe he acted that way today because he is very tired already.” This dialogue models how we can empathize, be understanding and kind to other people.
In addition, train your child how to read facial expressions and take cue on how to respond appropriately.
Let your children understand that you want them to treat others with respect. Concretize this by being respectful towards other people as well as in how you treat your child. Do not let rude actions and disrespectful behavior slip.
Be your child’s role model
The best way to teach your child to be kind is to be the role model yourself. Exercise kindness in thoughts, words and actions all the time and it will be easy for your child to imbibe being kind as well.
Remember that kindness is an act that can never go wasted. It is contagious and it raises other people up.
Being kind is easy to say but may be harder to do every day. However we should always strive to act in such as way that we inspire other people to follow and pass kindness along. By doing so, we create a better world for our children.
Special thanks to Express.co.uk for the main image.