It’s the time of year where red hearts and the words “I love you” are a dime a dozen. While kids may enjoy being sweet and loving as they celebrate Valentine’s Day what happens the other 364 days of the year? Is kindness and thoughtfulness something we pull out of the closet once a year because our calendar tells us to or is it something we can instill in our children year round? Hopefully you choose the later because teaching kids kindness should be an everyday thing, even at a young age.
It’s never too early to teach kindness. Even at the pre-school level you can teach your child that being kind is easy and the right thing to do. While they don’t have to be best friends with everyone in the sandbox, letting everyone in the sandbox is what’s more important. If they see a child playing by himself, wave him over to come play with the group. Some kids are just shy and need an extra push.
If your child is playing with a toy and another child comes over and wants to play with the same one, teach him to share instead of going in the corner to play with the toy all by himself. These little acts of kindness may not seem like much, but they can go a long way and have a lasting impression on a child.
As your child gets older and more verbal, teach him to stand up for other people. Unfortunately, there are plenty of bullies in this world. But, for every bully there should be someone who will stand up for the mistreated. Teach your child to be that person. If they hear someone being teased, teach them to speak up for the child being bullied if he’s not speaking up for himself. Being the voice of kindness can make all the difference.
Besides teaching your children how to be kind to others you can also show them kindness in your daily actions. Use your words to build people up, not to break them down. The old adage “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all” also applies here. Hold the door open for someone, help an elderly person with their groceries, donate to the less fortunate…when your child sees you doing these random acts of kindness hopefully they will want to do the same. Remember, kids are sponges. They soak up whatever is around them. If we surround them with positivity and kindness, hopefully that’s what they will hold on to and give to the world.