How to Teach Kids Kindness

Whether you’re a first-time parent or a mother of five, kindness is a trait that all parents want their kids to have. More than intelligence or physical strength, kindness goes a long way in ensuring that your child is compassionate and that it will last until they grow up.

Harvard University psychology professor Jerome Kagan emphasizes that our brains are wired towards kindness, and that it’s a biological tendency that we can cultivate. Building this capacity in your child will require lots of personal attention on your part. From small gestures like being courteous to encouraging your whole family to do volunteer work during the weekends, there are many things you can do to promote kindness.

Start with their stories

Chances are, you probably already have a bedtime routine, and this bedtime routine probably also involves a story. Why not use this as an opportunity to incorporate books that talk about the importance of kindness? Helping Kids Rise has compiled a list of diverse books precisely on this subject, with topics that range from kindness towards animals to how to act when confronted by a bully.

Always set a good example

It goes without saying that your child mimics your example. While it’s important that you set a good example when their eyes are on you, you should also aim to be kind even when you think they’re not looking. Raising your voice during a phone call or accidentally letting a curse word slip does happen, but being mindful of such behavior can help you nip these actions in the bud before they become habits.

Refrain from spoiling your kids

It’s normal to want to give your child everything their heart desires. However, spoiling your child early on can lead to a poor attitude, as your child won’t be able to value what they already have. Rather than spoiling your children with materialistic things, invest in experiences instead. These can range from family picnics to volunteering trips, as long as the focus is on time spent together as a family. These experiences teach kids the value of personal relationships.

Reflect on how you address mistakes

Whether it’s forgetting chores or their homework, your kids are bound to make more than a few mistakes. Encouraging them when this happens teaches your kids to be kinder towards themselves. In fact, Maryville University reports that there are newfound psychological links between mental health and learning development, which means that having a pleasant head space is crucial as they grow up. This can only happen by creating healthy attitudes towards mistakes. It’s much better than humiliating or shaming them, which can be very harmful to their mental health. Teach your kids that mistakes are normal, but try to fix them as soon as possible.

Apologize for your mistakes

On that note, it’s important to make sure you set an example by apologizing when it’s due. A lot of parents feel iffy when it comes to apologizing to their kids, as they think it reflects poorly on their parenting. A previous article on Bimi Boo dispels the myth of perfect parenting, proving that it’s normal to make mistakes. Acknowledging your own shortcomings fosters a relationship of respect between you and your child, and also teaches them the importance of forgiveness.

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By: Aurora Amber