Treating others with respect and compassion is what kindness is. Many parents strive to raise caring and kind kids, and compassion is one of the most important values parents strive to instill in their children. Like in Ted’s book on a wonderful and heart-warming story of friendship entitled “The Poppies on the Hill.” Ted Landkammer’s picture book The Poppies on the Hill is a bittersweet tale of intergenerational friendship. While these values play a significant role in a child’s social awareness and management, teaching children how to be genuinely compassionate can be challenging. Research suggests that almost half of one’s ability to share and care is inherited from our parents. However, like any skill, the value of kindness is best learned through practice.
Instilling Kindness in Children
The best thing you can do to make the world a better place is to create ways of kindness in your own home. Consider these ways to show your kids why the Golden Rule rules.
Create lessons of kindness into your daily routine. When your kid arrives from school, ask him to list two (2) ways he saw kindness being displayed and how he displayed kindness on that day, or two ways others were kind to him. If he has trouble finding examples, start pointing out examples around the house, in videos and TV shows, and when you are out together as a family. An example might be when a sibling helps a younger child cross the street or shares their toys. You can encourage your kid to be on the lookout for kindness so you can discuss it at family dinner time. Do some family sharing about an act of kindness they did.
Build a “ball of kindness.” Trace and cut out ball shapes on paper with your child and talk to him about why kindness matters. Ask him to think of ways to use compassion when dealing with his classmates. Have him write on the balls why he feels kindness is essential and examples, and ask him to read them aloud. You can also work on your balls, and when you are both done, you can display it on the refrigerator. This will serve as a reminder of the value of kindness and compassion. You can do the same essential thing with a map of kindness, cutting out paper in the shapes of states or countries.
Be Present. By being present in your kid’s life, you can inspire their imagination. How? Thinking “What would that feel like?” is one of the most powerful habits you can instill in your children. Accordingly, you can not be a compassionate person unless you have an active imagination. You have to be able to step into someone else’s shoes. Pretend play is an excellent way for young kids to practice empathy. You could say to your child, “Your doll fell and bumped her head! What do you think we should do for her?” As your kids get older, you can ask them to imagine more complicated real-life scenarios as you encounter them. You can point out differences to your kids without making any judgment so that they can form their own opinions.
Treat your child with respect. This is as simple as alerting your child that playtime is almost over. Do not be like those parents who suddenly decide it is time to leave the playground and snatch their children away abruptly because it is time to go home. That is disrespectful to treat a human being, kid or not. You might also mention triumphant settled disagreement through real-world experiences. At home, you could say to your son or daughter, “Mommy and Daddy do not always agree, but we listen to each other and treat each other with respect instead of putting each other down.”
Be patient with your little one. Compassion and kindness are learned, and life presents testing situations even to adults. Being a great role model and a loving parent will go a long way toward raising a tolerant, wonderful being.
Always bear in mind that aside from the general essentiality of kindness, it is something that can be taught. The earlier it is taught, the better. While academic excellence is an excellent objective that children should strive for, it is always better when accompanied by good character. Instilling and teaching kindness is one of the steps you can take to hone this character and contribute to your child’s holistic development.