How to Foster Kindness in Children
Happy World Kindness Day! Our world is made better by kindness, compassion, and empathy, which is why we work to instill these values in the children we serve. Here is a quick list of ways you can work to foster kindness in the children in your life any day of the year.
Before you can teach a child to respect other people - even complex people that may not be kind back - you can illustrate that all forms of life deserve compassion. Bugs, animals, plants, trees, flowers, and even toys or items around the house can be treated kindly and respectfully.
Make time to explain the inherent worth of these beings and items so that your children learn to understand others, regardless of their differences.
Children often learn by example. When you care for yourself, your child will do the same.This also works well to foster empathy.
If you make a mistake and admit it aloud, you can ask them for a hug or start a dialogue with them about why it’s important to practice forgiveness. In the future, they will practice this themselves and understand the importance of vocalizing care when others make mistakes, too.
The adage “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” rings true; teaching a child to think about what they say before they say it can ensure that they will be careful to avoid verbal conflict late in life. And, if they do enter an argument, they will be more likely to speak calmly and kindly and try to understand the other person’s perspective.
Volunteering, joining clubs, or participating in school events can establish a precedent in children that donating time and resources betters the community. When children see that the people around them benefit from their actions, and that their life improves consequently, they realize that helping others betters society as a whole. The power of kindness not only contributes to their own wellbeing, but reaches beyond their immediate family to the rest of the people they share spaces with.
Look at the glass half full
We all know that life is full of trials and tribulations, but a child doesn’t need to be raised to expect negativity from the world, regardless of what is thrown at them. If you teach them they can move forward and have a positive outlook after a moment of failure, they will be more motivated to find solutions in the future rather than give up when they face adversity. This will help them from lashing out against others when they grow up and focus on the good in others.