5 Ways to Raise Kids Who Are Kind
On January 17, 2017 | 0 Comments
When I meet with school groups, I’m fond of saying that Bean in the Garden aims to teach children how to be brave and kind in every day life.
Courage and kindness are traits that seem to be in short supply these days. Here are 5 ways to shine a light on kindness and make it a normal part of your child’s everyday life:
- Set a good example. Life is full of little frustrations. Don’t let a long line at the grocery story or getting cut off by another driver upset you. As a parent who struggles with a mighty cursing habit, I’ve learned (the hard way) that kids practice what they see and repeat what they hear. Try to be on your best behavior.
- Apologize when you make a mistake. Nobody’s perfect. When you say an unkind word or two, make sure you apologize, even if the person you snapped at is your own kid. In my experience, authentically apologizing to my child when I’m harsh with him dries his tears faster than anything else I could do – and it strengthens our relationship at the same time.
- Talk about what you’re thankful for. Growing up, my family had a practice of spending a few minutes at dinner talking about the good things that had happened that day. Expressing gratitude puts life’s little annoyances in perspective and makes it easier to choose kindness in everyday life.
- Help others as a family. Some families worry that exposing children to life’s difficulties will scare them, but helping others is a rewarding experience and a perfect expression of kindness. It doesn’t have to be a big deal. Adding a few dollars to your grocery bill to help sick kids or buying extra canned goods for the local food drive are small actions that will stick with your kids for life.
- Celebrate differences. When we teach children to notice diversity, we’re also teaching them to recognize the fundamental humanness of all people. Instead of pretending everyone is the same, seek out opportunities to name ways in which others are different from you, taking care to emphasize that one way is not superior to another.
The good news is that kids intuitively understand kindness. All you have to do as a parent or educator is be a good role model, and you’ll successfully remind them of what they already know.