No one wants to be known as the parent of the “mean kid” in class.
Have you ever heard of the expression, “the apple doesn't fall far from the tree?"
Although there are ways we can encourage kindness, it is typically something that is learned by example and modeling.
That means, it starts with you.
How can we model kindness for our children?
Here are a few SIMPLE ways to raise a nice kiddo:
Ask questions-Imagine your 3 year old pushed his or her friend on the playground, because they were playing with a toy that your child wanted. Have discussions about these incidents. Ask questions, such as, “how do you think that made them feel?” or “how would you feel if they pushed you and took your toy?” These types of questions and exploring various scenarios gets kids thinking. It is also important to discuss what could have been done differently. This will give your child the tools he or she needs for the next time there’s a sticky situation on the playground.
Small gestures- Hold doors for others and say “ thank you." When your child sees you doing these things, they too will follow.
Give to those less fortunate- Volunteer at a local food bank, send letters to the troops, adopt a family for the holidays, or create a free lemonade stand and donate the proceeds to a charity of choice. The options are endless! Empathy and kindness go hand in hand.
Correct “mean” language and behavior- If you hear your child talking in such fashion, correct it. If you continually allow that type of language they will think it is acceptable. This starts in the home. Make sure they have respect for you, grandparents, siblings, and all family members. If they are kind at home, they will most likely be kind outside of the home.
Check out this great list of books that helps teach kindness from a young age:
Be Kind- This New York Times bestseller demonstrates that small, kind gestures can go a long way.
The Kindness Quilt- This book is about a class that is given a project to perform an act of kindness and draw a picture to represent that act. The main character has a difficult time thinking of just one of her many acts of kindness, so she decides to display numerous acts in the form of a quilt. Everyone in the classroom loves the idea and they all work together!
If you Plant a Seed- This lovely book helps teach kids about kindness and sharing. Added bonus: the illustrations in this book are beautiful.
The Invisible Boy- I LOVE this one. This heartfelt book is about a young boy, Brian, who feels ignored and invisible. When a new boy comes to school, Brian is the first one to befriend him and show him the ropes. By the end of the story, Brian has gained new friends thanks to his kind soul.
A Little Spot of Kindness-This author creates many books related to emotions and feelings. This book will teach your child how to be kind in many different situations.
Until next time,