Raise Kind Kids

In Disney’s live action film, “Cinderella”, Cinderella’s mother says to her “have courage and be kind.” Parents, in a world where social media is forefront and judging others seems to be the norm, I challenge you to teach your children to be kind.  Don’t make the false assumption that they will learn it from their peers.  On the flipside, raise kind kids and they will have a positive influence on their peer group for we know that kindness is contagious.

Webster defines the word kind as “of a sympathetic or helpful nature”.  Another dictionary defines kindness as “the quality of being warmhearted and considerate.” Here are some ways to begin to teach your children to be kind.

Model kindness.  The lesson of kindness your children will remember most is what they see you do.  If you want kind kids, be kind.  Practice it daily in front of your little ones who are watching your every move.

Take a walk in others’ shoes.  Teach your children to think about what others are going through—why are they sad or mad; what might be going on in their family. Also ask them how they would feel and how they would want to be treated in those circumstances. If your child can consider that there might be a reason for their friend’s behavior, they will be more sympathetic towards them and more apt to offer kindness.  Volunteering is also a great way to teach kids about walking in others’ shoes.

Positive words of encouragement Teach your kids to speak words that build up and not words that tear down.  Teach them that you can always find something nice to say.  For example, if they think a friend’s painting is not great, they can tell them they like the colors they chose. Choosing kind words will encourage those around them to also be positive and to withhold judgmental comments.

Teach manners.  Saying “please” and “thank you”; looking at someone when spoken to; showing respect to others; writing thank you notes or letters; table manners, etc. These things will mold your child to be pleasant individuals.

Avoid overindulgence.  Even if you have the means to spoil your children, make the choice not to overdo it.  Teach them to be grateful for the things they have and to share their blessings with others.  Also teach contentment.  Overindulgence only leaves children not satisfied and always wanting more—self-centeredness and stinginess.

Random Acts of Kindness Day is February 17.  Mark Twain said “Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” Be creative and think of doing something for someone who cannot return the favor to you.  Involve your kids in this plan.  You and your kids will be blessed just as much as the recipient of the kindness—maybe more!


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