The world today needs kindness on so many levels, and the best way to begin is by teaching our kids to be kind. As parents, we all want our kids to learn good virtues that includes them being kind and empathetic. We never want them to be intolerant, or cruel. But one cannot deny the fact that we as adults also have days or moments of unkindness. Being kind can be difficult. But what’s great is that kindness, like any other skill, can be learned with time.
Kindness can be learned through repetition. And to teach kindness to a kid, one needs to remember the most effective learning skill that children have – They learn new behaviours by copying those around them. Thus teaching by setting an example for them is the best way to teach the virtue of kindness to your kid.
So if you’re looking at making the world a kinder place, one child at a time, here are some fun things you can do.
1. Lighten someone’s weight:
When you see a mailman or a person holding too much groceries, encourage your child to help them. You can also encourage your child to let an elderly move forward in the queue to the cashier or a bus. Such acts of kindness can be encouraged everywhere. Also, if you get up from your bus/metro seat for someone else in need, your child learns. Again, teach them by setting an example.
2. Host a dinner:
Have someone over for dinner who deserves appreciation – a school guard, a coach, a teacher etc. You can also encourage your child to make a ‘Thank You’ card for the guest. The important part is to educate your child about why one needs to thank these people.
3. Teach empathy every day:
We all face acts of unkindness every day. And what’s great is that we can teach our kids empathy in those exact moments. For example, if you face road rage with your kid by your side, you can ask your kid questions like, “Do you think the person was angry about something that happened back home?” You can also ask your child how the person could have responded even if he was angry by being kind. This will encourage your child to behave kindly even in trying moments.
4. Reward acts of kindness:
Reward your child when they perform unusual acts of kindness. This reward does not work for things that are their responsibility. Reward only things that are unusual. For instance, if your kid is not a sharer, but they shared a toy, you can reward your kid.
5. Be kind to your child:
One cannot teach what one does not know themselves. To teach kindness to your child, be kind to them. Once you treat your child with the kindness she/he will also shine bright and give kindness to the world.
Being kind creates a good feeling across the globe and within ourselves. It not only spreads happiness but also diverts our attention from our own problems and creates an interconnectedness with our surroundings. And this is a life skill your child will carry with them throughout.