More than anything else, kindness is a skill we must develop in our children. And just like any other skill, kindness is taught through repetition and through example.
Here are some timeless tips you can use to raise kinder kids!
1. Show empathy to others
Kids learn best through example. If your child sees you being rude to your server, s/he may interpret this to be acceptable behaviour. Help your child learn about empathy instead by asking statements such as “How do you think our server is feeling during such a busy day?”
2. Own up to your mistakes
Nobody is perfect, parents included! Teach your kids early on that it’s okay to make mistakes as long as you own up to them. Remember to apologise to your children if you’ve hurt them or caused them disappointment.
3. Create a feelings vocabulary
Kids can better display kindness if they can identify their feelings and the feelings of others around them. Create a feelings vocabulary and start out with the basic emotions such as “happy” “excited” “sad” and “angry.” Teach them how to recognise the body language and facial expressions that go with each. As your child gets older, you can start to introduce more complex emotions such as “anxious” and “shyness.”
4. Celebrate difference
Australia is a rich country when it comes to varying cultures and peoples. At Little Zak’s Academy, we use this is an opportunity to teach our kids to be accepting of everybody, no matter their background! Difference goes beyond ethnicity and religion – we teach our kids how to interact with differently abled people as well!
5. Volunteer together
Sadly, not all children have the same opportunities that we can give our own. At our child care centre in Ryde and others throughout NSW, we make it a point to remind our kids to be more involved in their communities by volunteering and helping those in need through donation drives and fund raising events!
6. Expand their circle of concern
It is easy for children to show their concern towards a loved one such us a family member or a close friend. The challenge is teaching our kids to be kind to those they aren’t necessarily close to. Show your kids you appreciate everyone around you – from the old lady who lives across the street to your bus driver. You could also expand their circle of concern by encouraging your child to attend a birthday party of a classmate they may not be close to.
7. Banish negativity
In teaching our kids to be kind, we often forget to teach them to be kind to themselves as well. Practice kindness towards yourself by letting go of any negativity self-talk. Model positive thoughts by showing your children the importance of appreciating what they have – their appearance, skills, etc.
There’s more than enough kindness in the world to go around. Join Little Zak’s Academy as we participate in World Kindness Day on the 13th of November and help us make the world a better place for all!