Every parent hopes their child will show kindness and be compassionate towards others. No one wants to raise a little monster that doesn’t know how to share or is cruel in the playground. Teaching empathy is really important when it comes to raising kind children. A lot of parents tend to focus on achievements and happiness, but forget to give empathy as much of the spotlight as it deserves. Instead of putting emphasis on the importance of being happy when taking part in activities, tell your children the most important thing is that they are kind.
Helping & Caring for Others
Show your kids that caring for others is a top priority in life. You could dedicate one day month to helping others in need; volunteering with your children, visiting or even running a bake-sale, taking part in sponsored events etc,. This example does involve more commitment, but you can also do smaller things to show compassion to others. If your child wants to miss a team activity or turn down a birthday invitation for selfish reasons, then help them to understand how their actions might impact others. Always encourage them to think about the feelings of others throughout everything they undertake.
Read Stories With Kind Messages
Most children’s books, films and TV shows are designed to teach solid messages about acceptance, kindness, and bravery. How often do we select material based purely on the message it represents? Books that promote kindness can help your child relate to the characters and topics to better understand the type of person they should become. If you’re stuck for ideas, try these ‘Children’s Books That Champion Kindness’ by readbrightly.com.
Lead by Example
You are your child’s biggest role model. Children learn by repetition and by copying the behaviours of those around them. When we show kindness, compassion, love and selflessness to others, our children see this as the norm. These can be simple things like offering to make your other half a cup of tea, giving money to a homeless person outside the shops, or helping an elderly person carry their shopping bags to their car. You are always being observed by your children.
Create Opportunities for Kindness
Create scenarios where your child is able to practise kindness. As we’ve already mentioned, repetition is crucial for something to become second nature. You could get out the arts and crafts and help your children create homemade birthday cards, or thank you cards for friends and family. When someone is unwell you can ask your child to pick out some flowers to take round. Maybe you could create a chart and each week your children need to demonstrate one act of kindness at home or at school to earn a gold star. When they reach a certain number of gold stars you could reward them or think of another way to acknowledge their kindness that isn’t necessarily linked to an incentive.
When children or adults struggle to care for others or show kindness towards others, it’s typically because they are struggling with anger or envy. You can help your child address these feelings by teaching them that it’s okay to feel that way, but we must not act in a negative way despite them.