Teaching children kindness is essential these days. By teaching our kids to be givers of kindness, rather than receivers, we contribute to their feelings of happiness, enrich their relationships, and create lifelong habits of showing compassion to others. Here are a few tips to begin today.
- Start early, by modeling kindness and respect to those around you. A simple greeting, compliment, or kind gesture goes a long way!
- Your turn-My turn dialogue helps to build turn-taking and listening skills. For example: “You can share your favorite winter activity with me, and then I’ll share my favorite activity with you.”
- At the dinner table, have each family member share an example from the day, where he/she showed kindness to another person. Be sure to discuss how the kindness made a person feel. This type of reflection will bring more meaning to every day actions.
- Create a habit of writing notes of kindness to friends and family. Get well cards, a message in dad’s lunch bag, or a sticky note on the bathroom mirror lets others know you are thinking about them.
- Create a kindness jar in your home, using coins or special “jewels”. Each time you witness your children use kind words, or show kindness, share how this made you feel, and place a coin or jewel in the jar. When the jar is full, your family can celebrate by doing something special together, like catch a movie together, or go to your favorite ice cream shop.
- Start a ‘Kindness Project’ as a family. Together, decide how you want to show kindness to others. Volunteer locally, shovel the drive of an elderly neighbor, or prepare meals for a family in need.
Empathy is “caught” by your daily actions and examples. Remember, no act is too small!