Ways to Teach Your Child Kindness

As a parent, one of the best things you can do for your child and the world at large is to teach them kindness. The way your kids treat the people around them is one of the most foundational skills they will have, and will be a crucial part of how they function in their environment. Being kind is more important than ever, especially with how volatile the world can be these days. Not only is it paramount to treat others well, but it is equally as important to teach young people to be kind to themselves.

First, teach them and help them understand what kindness means. Some define kindness as generous, friendly, and considerate, but it means so much more for some. It can mean what you choose for it to mean. The biggest thing here is that kindness can be taught, so your definition of kindness is what your child will take from you. 

Lead By Example

Our children often mirror what we do and it is the most dominant way children learn new habits and behaviors. This is why teaching by example is so important. When children see actions, their brains respond as if they were performing the action themselves. These are called mirror neurons, and they are the cells in the brain that send us information for imitation, and they are especially active during adolescence. These neural pathways create a basis for behaviors that will stick with them throughout life. 

Read Stories of Kindness

Many children’s books can help you teach your child kindness. Set out a time to sit down and read stories to your child. Talk with them about the moral of the story and ask them if they have any questions about what happened. Some questions you can ask them are:

  • In what ways can you be kind?
  • What do you do if you see someone be unkind?
  • How do you feel when someone is kind to you? Unkind to you?

Encourage Kind Habits

Encouraging your child to create kind habits can start with saying please, thank you, you’re welcome, etc. While they’re in school or playing with friends, encouraging them to share their toys or snacks, and being helpful to other kids are easy ways to introduce this concept. Rewarding your child for being kind is a great way to encourage them to continue expressing their kindness towards others.

Teaching your child kindness can be one of the greatest gifts you give your child. Starting at an early age will instill in them these behaviors that will follow them into their adult life. There are plenty of things you can do to incorporate into your child’s life, like reading them stories about kindness, leading by example, and encouraging kind habits. 

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