How to teach kindness?

Susan Fernandez November 11 2021

Kindness is a skill that children are expected to learn at home, yet kindness is not always shown in the home. Sometimes parents are so busy with work outside of the house they forget to show their children love and affection until it's time for them to leave for school. This sets up a scenario where it may be more important for parents or caregivers to teach their children how to be kind rather than actually being kind themselves.

After all, what would happen if we raised our kids to expect everyone around them but their parents and caregivers were mostly unkind? Children would never get the opportunity to practice kindness because they would think that adults and other kids were mean and unapproachable. When this happens it becomes harder for children to recognize and understand their own feelings.

The power of positivity

It is just as important as the power of negativity, and by showing your children love and affection you're allowing their minds to develop into happy, healthy people.

Parents must take the time every day to teach kindness to their children. If there is already a lot of unkindness in your home then it's up to you to balance that out with positivity.

By showing your children how to be kind you are allowing them to understand their emotions and the impact of those emotions on others. It is also a key lesson in learning empathy, positive peer interactions, self-control, responsibility, and good communication skills. When your children show kindness they become more confident as people who know they can make a difference by doing small things that have a big impact on others. Showing kids how to be kind takes practice but it's worth every effort.

Benefits of being kind

Being kind leads to benefits like higher self-esteem, social acceptance, happiness, and confidence. This means your child will be more successful in school and elsewhere! If you make mistakes, own up to them and do your best to apologize.

There are many other reasons why teaching kindness should begin at an early age aside from EQ development. Here are just some of the benefits of raising kind:

Physical Health

Kids who are kind have less stress, anxiety, and depression which means they're in a better mood to make healthy choices.

Less Stress

Being kind reduces the likelihood of kids being bullied or ignored by their classmates at school leading them to be happier. Kids who are happy tend to play with toys that are constructive instead of destructive. Destructive behavior includes playing video games all day long since there's no social interaction involved, eating junk food because they don't want to go outside due to being overwhelmed by their own emotions causing them not to want to deal with it at home too, etc.

Increased Academic Success

When teaching your child how to be kind, always remind him/her that what you say matters more than how you say it. It doesn't matter if your child is a year old or 10 years old, this concept will still hold true so you can practice it with them to help them become a kind person.

How can we teach kindness?

Here are some tips:

  • Remember children learn by example so talk about the things you do and how you feel when something is done to someone else in a mean way
  • Model good behavior at home so that your child can see what it looks like when adults show they care in your family
  • Ask open-ended questions when talking with your child about how being kind makes them feel
  • Talk through difficult situations before they happen so that your child knows what to expect and feels more secure in their surroundings. You may not be around when they need to choose to be kind but they'll have an idea of what's expected from them
  • Role model behavior for your child so that they can learn what it means to be kind to you. How would they feel if someone said something mean to them? Then how do you think they'll feel if someone says something mean to another person?
  • Take advantage of teachable moments by letting your child know that bullying is wrong and saying mean things will never solve a problem, even when they're done as a joke
  • Teach your children the power of a smile and a compliment by reminding them not to underestimate the impact their positive words have on others

Kindness and EQ

Emotional intelligence involves the ability for self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. Kindness is a valuable asset that builds the foundation of emotional intelligence. When kids are kind, they have access to everything EQ has to offer.

Children who show kindness are more socially accepted. They tend to be happier with themselves and have higher self-esteem which leads them to be more confident in their academic life.

EQ is built starting at birth. Children who are exposed to positive social interactions early on learn the importance of extending kindness towards others. They start learning how important it is to be able to read non-verbal cues and understand their impact so they can respond proactively rather than reactively.

Being kind makes you feel good inside because you know that you've helped someone else feel better about themselves. It allows us to have self-control over our responses and emotions, instead of lashing out or ignoring the situation altogether.

The skills learned through being kind also carry over into academic life where we're expected to work in a group, solve problems, share ideas, and build meaningful relationships with classmates which all contribute to kids being successful in school and life.

Emotional intelligence is very important to the development of children. When your child will grow up, they will face many difficult situations. To be ready for this life, your child should have the ability to recognize their own feelings and emotions as well as know how to deal with them. The best way to teach your children how to manage their emotions is by showing them what it means to be kind.

Parents who are always available for communication help develop empathy in kids because they can understand how someone else feels if mommy or daddy shows them first. Empathy is one of the most important aspects of emotional intelligence which allows kids to read other people's cues so that they can respond appropriately instead of reacting impulsively, especially when someone says something mean.

If you tell your child that bullying is wrong but ignore it whenever you see one of their classmates being bullied, your child won't know empathy because you're setting them up to fail.

Will kindness help my baby become social and develop a large network of buddies?

You're the most important person in your child's life and you'll always be their number one social circle. Your child will look to you for guidance and approval when they want approval from other people in their lives, like friends. When we teach our children that showing kindness is an integral part of who we are at home, they learn that kindness is a core value that has importance beyond just being nice to others.

Teaching kindness to our young ones makes them more likely to have positive interactions with peers which over time creates lasting friendships. Because your child learns how being kind makes them feel good on the inside, they'll seek out opportunities where not only do they show kindness but receive it too.

When kids understand what it means to be kind, they're more likely to partake in social activities like group games, playing with other children at the park, sharing their toys with classmates, and even joining team sports where they learn how to interact positively with others.

In addition, your child's ability to have empathy towards those around them will result in being able to read non-verbal cues from peers as well as teachers. This means that they'll be able to pick up on subtle cues instead of pushing someone away by saying something mean or getting upset when a peer doesn't want to play a certain way.

When we teach our kids about being kind and show them what it looks like, through our actions, we can help build a foundation for their EQ.

Allow your child to choose

Help guide your child when faced with a difficult situation, especially when it comes to sharing or when someone takes something that belongs to them. We all need help in this area and showing your children how you deal with these situations will allow them to learn from you in addition to also having the opportunity for self-discovery about what works best for them.

Teaching kids about being kind is just like teaching them any other lesson in that it has to be done consistently. You don't have to feel like a perfect parent, but the more positive interactions your child experiences at home, the more social experiences they'll seek out outside of your comfort zone which ultimately leads to their success beyond childhood. Being kind is a core value that benefits everyone in the long run.

Also note, that it shouldn`t be mandatory for your child to interact with other children while you`re on urgent matters. It is necessary for you to remind them about being kind but it shouldn`t be imposed by you or your child might lose interest in such activity and will not enjoy social interactions.

It is important to explain what kindness means and why we should do it, however, it has to be done in a fun way without any pressure, otherwise, there won't be any results. For example:

  • make kindness bracelets and wear them together;
  • take pictures of kids doing something nice and give them compliments;
  • draw pictures for close people (parents, friends) and show gratitude;
  • go out into the nature together and pick up garbage;
  • watch movies with messages about kindness and empathy;
  • bake cookies for someone who needs their spirits lifted;
  • organize a clothes drive for kids your child's age to show them how it feels to get something new after you donate old things.

These are just a few ideas of activities you can do to teach kids about being kind, but your imagination is the limit. The more fun you have together with your child, the better results you`ll have.