Every parent wants to instill in their children a sense of responsibility and generosity. It is understandably a top priority for kids to grow up able to act kindly towards others in all types of circumstances. Unlike educational topics such as spelling or history, kindness is something that can’t be taught from a book. Kids must be shown by example how to navigate the world around them in a way that simultaneously maintains their own boundaries while offering kindness wherever possible. If you are struggling to come up with practical ways to show your kids how to be kind, here are a few ideas to inspire you.
If possible, making opportunities for your children to interact with animals is an ideal way of teaching them the value of kindness. Since animals don’t communicate in the same way as people, kids must quickly pick up on the body language and behavior of the animal they’re interacting with so they can continue to play with it. Animals have no patience for people that don’t treat them kindly, so your child will soon realize the importance of showing respect even to creatures that communicate differently. You could visit a farm or a petting zoo or even introduce a pet into the family.
A big part of kindness is being patient. Teaching your kids to understand that other people have emotions too can help them to manage their own responses in a kind and healthy way. Lead by example and demonstrate patience in situations that cause you stress or frustration. This might be with other adults or with your kids. If they misbehave, remain patient with them even if you are feeling angry. This will show them that they can function in society without letting impatience get the better of them.
Volunteering and Charity
Another great way to set a good example for your kids is to teach them about the importance of caring for people they don’t know. It is one matter to be kind and generous to those within their circle, but it is another to extend this to strangers in need. You could let them accompany you to your volunteer shift at a veterans charity or help you prepare care packages before sending them to crisis areas. Children very quickly absorb the information in the world around them, and seeing your generosity will help them to develop it within themselves.
Especially for young children, sharing can be difficult. This is because at a young age, children are only able to focus on their own needs and wants. If they have siblings, they might not want to share your attention. In kindergarten, they might resent having to share toys with other kids. This is perfectly normal. Don’t panic and start to think that your children will grow up to be unkind or unable to share. Simply set a good example yourself and positively reinforce whenever they share something successfully. There is no set way to raise kids; you have to figure out as you go.