Hand passing a black heart to another hand.

One of the things that can be inspiring about kids is how honest they are. If they feel something or think something, they’ll often say it without understanding its impact. And while honesty is often a good thing, there are moments where certain statements or behaviors might not be best.

In such a tumultuous world, the act of how to teach kindness and empathy to our little ones may seem like a struggle. But inspiring the best in your kids can be like a lot of things – all it requires is some practice and encouragement!

If you’re trying to inspire social emotional learning in the classroom and out in the world, there are a few simple ways you can do it. Keep in mind that modeling behaviors like kindness each day is the key to inspiring a lifelong trait!

Exhibit Kindness

Every parent knows their child is going to model their behavior at some point, whether it’s good or bad. That’s why it’s so important to demonstrate kindness on a daily basis so your child can learn from your habits.

For example, if you see an elderly person that is carrying their groceries on their own, you may want to offer to help them. Or, if your child needs assistance with their homework, set a time aside to sit down with them and go through it together.

Kids are great observers of other people and take notice of everything around them. Giving them a kickstart towards kindness is all about showcasing that behavior consistently so they can see it and model it.  

Don’t Ignore Bad Behavior

It goes without saying that no adult or child is without their flaws. We all have our bad moments or bad days where we just may not feel like being nice. But, when it comes to how to teach kindness to a child, it’s important not to let those small moments go.

If your child says something rude about another child or speaks aggressively to you, do not let the behavior pass unnoticed. It will only say to your child that it is OK, and that means it may be repeated.

Make sure your child understands that it’s rude to talk about others in a mean way or in an aggressive manner. Instead of acting out with hostility, they may want to take a time out or utilize the STOP technique.  

Like the adage says, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Believe In Them

To some extent, we are all products of someone’s faith in us. And, while every person has flaws, believing the best in your child will go a long way towards them believing in themselves.

Be sure to convey to your child that you know them to be kind, thoughtful individuals capable of good deeds. If they express empathy or feel sadness for someone else, let them know that their sensitivity is an admirable trait.

Thinking of others is the kind of behavior that should be encouraged, so be sure to teach kindness by appreciating their positive qualities.

Help Others

There’s nothing like getting your child started early with helping others and participating in the life of your community. In fact, one of the best ways your child can learn kindness is to see the experiences of others firsthand.

For this reason, you may want to have the whole family volunteer at a food bank or hospital. This can show your child that not everyone is in the same circumstance as they are. You could also encourage them to donate toys or clothes to the less fortunate so they learn about giving back.

By understanding what life is like for others, they’ll be able to naturally engage in gratitude activities and offer kindness where it means more.   

Encourage Good Manners

‘Please’ and ‘thank you’ are small words, but they go a long way towards how to teach kindness to kids. That’s why it’s a good idea to make them a part of daily life around your home!

Be sure to say these simple words at home and encourage your child to use them when interacting with others. It may not take much effort, but even those little words will have a lot to do with how they’re treated by others.

Fortunately, even a little added politeness will inspire the same behavior in other people. That means that positive interactions are much more likely each and every day.  

Notice Their Kindness

Everyone wants to be noticed for the good things they do, and there’s no exception when it comes to kids! Nurturing a behavior in your child is often about encouragement so be sure to notice when they do something nice.

For example, if your child shares their Halloween candy with you, say thank you and acknowledge the act. Or, if they help you make dinner or clean up the house without being asked, let them know that it means a lot.

A little praise goes a long way towards how to teach kindness to your child. It also means the act may be repeated!

Conclusion

Few things are more likely to make a person’s day brighter than an act of kindness. Whether it’s a smile or some community volunteer work, offering kindness to others makes the world a better place. That’s why teaching our kids to exhibit kindness is so important in the local community and the larger world!

Luckily, encouraging this quality in your kids is as simple as modeling the behavior yourself and encouraging it in everyday acts. By knowing it’s important, your children will be inspired to engage in it whenever they can.

If you’re working on how to teach kindness and are encouraging your child to be mindful of the feelings of others, Coping Dice can be the perfect toy. These dice can help them understand how to deal with their big emotions and develop emotional intelligence. By understanding their own emotions, they’ll have the ability to better understand what others might be feeling.

References

Scholastic Parents. 13 Ways to Raise a Caring and Compassionate Child. https://www.scholastic.com/parents/family-life/social-emotional-learning/social-skills-for-kids/13-ways-to-raise-caring-and-compassionate-child.html

Verywell Family. Ways to Teach Your Kids Kindness. https://www.verywellfamily.com/teaching-kids-kindness-620723

The Robert D. and Billie Ray Center. Four Ways to Nurture Kindness.

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Justine Leonhardt

Justine Leonhardt

Justine Leonhardt is a freelance writer based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She has a background in creative writing and is passionate about the written word and all of the possibilities that come along with it. She loves learning and writing about philosophy, art, the environment, social issues and well-being.

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