10 Ways to Encourage Kindness in Kids
While parents often think they are raising kind children, a glimpse at the adults around us proves this isn’t true. Sadly, kids are surrounded by adults who are cruel, mean, and selfish. Since children learn from what they see, parents must make every effort to encourage their children to be kind.
Many parents think they are teaching their children to be kind, but studies show this is not the case. According to a new study by Richard Weissbourd, a Harvard psychologist, “About 80 percent of the youth in the study said their parents were more concerned with their achievement or happiness than whether they cared for others.” It is common for parents to place more emphasis on success rather than kindness. Let’s look at some ways you can redirect your focus today.
- Be a Kind Adult
First, you must be a kind adult yourself to raise kind kids. Children learn more from your example than from your words. Therefore, you must strive to be kind. Be kind to yourself, your family, and others. Your children will notice.
- Speak Kind Words
When you are upset or frustrated, remember to watch your words. A gentle word in a difficult situation is a great way to show your children how to be kind. Simply using kind words when dealing with people rather than losing control or speaking harshly is a wonderful way to encourage kindness. Avoid negativity at all costs.
- Compliment Freely and Regularly
Some adults feel uncomfortable giving and receiving compliments. If you are one of these adults, you need to change this habit today. Compliments are easy ways to be kind. Whether you are complimenting your children or the store clerk, a kind compliment goes a long way.
- Have a Family Motto
As I mentioned earlier, consider what key lesson you are teaching your children. Are you teaching them that success in the classroom is more important than being kind? If so, take some time to reevaluate. For example, talk with your kids about what matters the most to you. Consider developing a family motto that you can recite. It can be something as easy as, “Be loving and kind.”
- Practice Gratitude
Cultivate an attitude of gratitude by regularly practicing thankfulness. Teach your children to say, “Thank you” whenever someone does something for them. Grateful children are kind children.
- Engage in Random Acts of Kindness
As a family, come up with a list of simple ways you can show kindness. Then, put these ideas into practice. Engage in random acts of kindness such as paying for the car behind you at the drive-thru, giving away bubbles at the park, or taking a plate of cookies to your neighbor.
- Serve the Community
Make it a point to volunteer in your community. The practice of serving just for the sake of helping others is a fantastic way to encourage kindness in children. There are many opportunities to serve with children such as delivering meals or sorting clothing at a shelter.
- Read Books About Kindness
Kids learn from examples. If you need some immediate examples of people who are kind, go to the library to find books with characters who are kind. For instance, Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids by Carol McCloud is a great resource.
- Foster Empathy
Help your children to see the world beyond your door. When we encourage our children to consider the needs of those around them, it helps to foster empathy. These feelings will then lead to kind acts.
- Catch Your Kids in the Act
One of the best ways to encourage kindness in children is to catch them in the act. Whenever you see your child being kind, praise him or her! Let your child know you saw what he/she did and how much it meant to you.
In a world filled with unkind people, you can encourage kindness in your kids. The changes the world needs, start in your home.