Teaching Children About Kindness
August 11, 2020
Fostering a culture of kindness and carving out time to intentionally promote kindness cultivates empathy and understanding. This includes child-to-child, student to teacher, and parent to child relationships. Children notice and are impacted when adults act unkindly and it influences how they process feelings and manage conflict.
Tips for Teaching Kindness:
Model Kindness—Say please and thank you. Always model behavior you want your children to follow. Speak kindly. Children look to adults to be models for what is expected, and when we are treating others kindly, they will too.
Intentionally Teach Empathy—Help children to see people through a kindness lens and appreciate what each other is feeling. “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
Challenge your children to spread kindness—When an act of kindness is conducted between 2 people, the recipient will usually pay it forward with an act of kindness to someone else.. Performing acts of kindness allows the giver to both do good and feel good. It can also help to lower blood pressure, and encourage stronger social connections.
Talk about kindness—Share stories from the news about people doing good deeds. Use everyday life examples to show way that kindness was displayed. When someone is unkind to you or your child, talk with your child about the best way to handle the situation.
Be the action—Often times, children can identify needs but not yet know how to take action. Empower them to take initiative. Start by discussing needs and helping your child come up with ways to meet those needs.
Show gratitude each day—Have your children share what they are thankful for each day.
Read stories that include a problem to solve—Sharing stories allows children to think about problems people may encounter. Have a discussion with your child about how they would feel if they were the character in the story. What would they want/need in the moment? How would they want the problem to be solved?