Being parents we all will think about the child’s well-being and goodness, health, and prosperity. But recently, parents often say that it is important for the child to learn to be kind and generous. It is said by many parents that teaching kindness to kids is one of the lessons that make them an asset to the community. We are glad to hear this from the parents today!
Over the past few years, there have been increased emotional and mental problems, especially in children. There may be different reasons individual to each, but one of the common reasons noticed was, being nuclear to family, friends, and society. Yes, this is a generous effect on every child. Being nuclear makes the child less communicative and interactive with the people around them. Studies show that a child being kind and empathetic helps them in growing into a happier, healthier, and more likable person.
As parents, we make sure the child is learning to read and write but somewhere we assume them to learn and develop kindness skills. But, like reading and writing, kindness is to be taught to the children. Start by telling them “Share your toys!”
What is Kindness in Kids?
“Being Kind is a Virtue!”
I recently asked my friends “What do they mean by kindness to children?”.
Before we start teaching them what kindness is, I urge every parent to figure out what it is actually. You wonder with the responses I got. Many and many responses include Compassion, Generosity, Empathy, Justice, Alleviating, and Suffering. Every answer from them has an underlying consideration for others.
Kindness may sometimes vary with the age and maturity of the children. For the littlest kids, it may be sharing their favourite crayons or breaking a cookie into two pieces and sharing with their friends. If we look into some older kids, this varies from patting the back of worried friends or waving at the neighbours or might be inviting their lonely classmates to join them for lunch.
Whatever your child’s perception of certain etiquette, encouraging them in the right way and nurturing them with correct values of kindness makes the difference in the long run.
Do you ever hear your child’s classroom stories after he is back from school?
You might have. Even if not, let’s start making it a routine for a few minutes before you ask them to write their homework. Because this helps them build strong communication and bond with you. Moreover, it gives you a picture of how and what is your child gesture toward his classmates.
Most of the time, you might have heard from kids saying, “Mamma, today my friend shared his lunch box with all of us as he bought some crunchy snacks.” Or sometimes you also hear them saying, “He has shared his favourite crayon with one of his friends who missed it.” Both scenarios may not be the highest levels of kindness but they mark the beginning of some positive vibes in your child towards others.
Some of the stubborn children say “MINE” for everything they own or see. Sometimes, this may not be a good gesture and in turn, makes the child self-isolated from people around him.
It is our duty as parents and teachers to teach them some basic things on how they can be more friendly with other people. Even before your kid is old enough to understand, start talking about it then and now. And here, no need to be complicated!
While you are feeding them, ask them to give you a scoop of what you are feeding them. Show your love for feeding yourself. This makes them understand sharing is love! While your kids are playing together in the park, if any friend of theirs falls and cries, your child may go help them or start crying. This is the right scenario to articulate empathy to your child. Ask them why they felt sad or why they helped their friend. You will be amazed by their answers.
While discussing or teaching about kindness, Empathy and Compassion are the two words that make it all.
Empathy is when we think about what someone is feeling or thinking and then respond in a caring manner. And compassion is empathy in action – Caring for them, treating them with love and kindness, and helping them when they need it.
Every kid is having a skill unique to him and can be recognized only when they feel about doing or saying it or being empathetic.
Read about: What are ways of Collaborative Teaching
Fortunately, kindness is something that can be taught by anyone, parents, family, or teachers. The most dominant way a child learns to be kind is by being observant of their surroundings. It means as adults we have a greater share in making them learn and understand kindness and its beauty. So, if you want to make your child learn kindness and, in the world, here are a few ways too!!
“Not All-Night Dreams come True! The Day Dreams can be made True”
No one can be a compassionate person unless he has a dream that awakens him from day sleep. Every one of us imagines our life to be so in the future and so our kids do the same. Yes, your kids imagine things in their little brains.
You might have heard kids narrating some stories instantly that came out right from their imagination. They narrate it so well that we might somewhere feel like it happened in real-time. Never stop your child from such imaginary narrations, let them explore their brains and build the stories by themselves.
For some grown-up children, ask the question of what they will do if placed in a scenario of asking to sleep alone outside. Or ask them how they feel if they see someone in a wheelchair trying to get into the bus. These make them think about it and start talking from their heart. They just imagine what he is thinking and come out narrating it from imagination. Whether he says it positively or negatively, don’t stop them from the narration. Let them imagine and narrate, just guide them if they are going out of line.
When it comes to raising kids, every parent has their unique ideology and patterns based on what they want their kids to be or achieve. Dr. Harding says, we cannot control the child’s behavior, but can look for ways to demonstrate kind behavior ourselves. Kids are eager to copy from others, especially parents and teachers. So, you can model kindness from the time they start talking and understanding their surroundings.
It is said that 80% of parenting is Modelling. Children learn more from their parents. Right from greeting each other in the morning to sharing the chores equally to talking to the neighbors. It is equally important the way you treat your child or spend time with them listening to their school stories or sometimes imaginary stories. Respond to them with love, command less and only when required.
Modelling kindness constitutes many rights from you putting down the phone or speaking to your elders or neighbours to addressing other people.
Before your kid considers others, it is required to make them understand what the actual thing is. Consider a scenario where one of their play partners is shifting to another place by stating the correct reason. Ask them how they are feeling about it. This makes you understand what’s your child’s perspective on certain things or how he takes things that are usual and sudden. Ask them what he says if the same happens to them.
Your kid may not always notice or feel the vibe of kindness they shared with others. Help them know and make them feel it. Tell them how the other people felt about their act of kind behaviour. Consider, that you heard from one of your kid’s teachers that he helped his friend in colouring. That made the kid and teacher happy and great. Tell your kid about it and appreciate them from your end. This makes them understand that they have done something good and got praised for it.
“Yes, Kindness can be practiced for rewards which make us happy”
Similarly, make your kids notice how they felt about their friend sharing his snacks with him. This makes them feel gratitude for their friend who made him feel the joy of crunchies along with him. With this, your kid can cultivate the emotion of Gratitude which is the highest asset.
- A deep terminology – Kind words, Thank You, Please
It is a good idea to make kids find something good in others and say the same to them. Teaching good manners is not only about being good or respecting others but also showing gratitude or apologizing if anyone got hurt for them or pleading with someone politely for things they need. All these might look like basic terms but are deep if we dig into the emotional concerns.
If your child is interested in reading stories or asks you to read stories at bedtime, try these best books on kindness. Nothing connects your child to something than a good story. Read out these books for your kid:
- Be Kind by Pat Miller, illustrated by Jen Hill
- Kindness Makes Us Strong by Sophie Beer
- Be Kind! An Activity Book for Young People who care about Others by Stephanie Clarkson and illustrated by Kate Abey.
- Kindness is my Superpower: A children’s Book About Empathy, Kindness, and Compassion by Alicia Ortego.
- Kindness Is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler by Margery Cuyler and illustrated by Sachiko Yoshikawa.
- Create your Kindness: Activities to encourage children to be caring and kind by Becky Goddard-Hill, illustrated by Clare Forrest.
- Listening with my Heart: A Story of Kindness and Self-Compassion by Gabi Garcia and illustrated by Ying Hui Tan.