We all want our kids to be kind, we even spend an inordinate amount of time repeating “be kind” to toddlers who may or may not have any clue what we are saying. Being kind to one another is important. Many children develop kindness and empathy naturally, but teaching kindness to kids is still important and valuable.
Teaching Kindness to Kids
Lessons encouraging kindness can also be a lot of fun for kids and parents too. In this article, let’s talk about how to teach kindness, fun activities for helping your children learn to be kind, and how teaching kindness to kids can prevent bullying.
How to Teach Kindness and Empathy
Kindness should be taught both at home and in the classroom. Encouraging kindness and empathy teaches kids to be more inclusive and compassionate.
Being kind has a lot of benefits for our kids too! Did you know that children who are kind and empathetic are healthier, happier, and make friends more easily? It’s true. Kind children are also more likely to be accepted by their peers and less likely to bully others.
How can you teach your kids to be kind?
Teaching kindness is definitely a subject where you want to lead by example. Children learn to be kind to others by watching how you treat others.
You can set a good example by trying to be nice to people you interact with throughout the day. As your children see you choosing kindness, they will be more likely to show kindness as well.
Remember, kindness is contagious. If you want your children to learn to be kind, it’s important to show them kindness too. Try to speak kindly to your child, especially when you’re frustrated or exhausted.
Teaching Kindness to Prevent Bullying
Bullying is a problem. It can happen even as early as preschool and kindergarten. While most kids learn to be kind naturally, managing emotions can be hard for some kids and they might need extra help learning how to be kind and empathetic.
How can you prevent bullying? There are lots of ways you can teach your child to pay attention to others’ emotions and be kind. Practice showing kindness with role playing games, read books that model kindness with your children and take turns completing acts of kindness together.
Books About Kindness for Kids
One simple way to teach kindness to kids is by reading books. Many children’s books contain beautiful and powerful lessons about kindness, empathy, and compassion. Check out some of our favorite books for learning about kindness together below:
- Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena
- Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts
- You, Me, and Empathy by Jayneen Sanders
- Worrywoo Monsters series by Andi Green
- The Kindness Quilt by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
Reading age appropriate books about kindness together and talking with them about your children can help them understand why it’s important to be kind to everyone and help make them more aware of others’ feelings.
Games to Teach Kindness
If your child has difficulty picking up on others’ emotions you can play “Guess the Feeling.”
Here’s how you play:
- First, find a public place where you can sit and watch people, like a park bench.
- Then, watch the people walking past and try to find someone displaying an extreme emotion like excitement or anger.
- Ask your kids “How do you think they feel?” You can even make up a story about why they might be feeling that way together.
This little game is an easy way to help children identify facial expressions, notice how others might be feeling, and use that information to develop empathy.
Role-playing games can help kids learn to be kind too. Ask your children to act out scenarios where they will need to treat others as they would like to be treated. Let kids take turns coming up with ideas for each scenario.
Here are some sample scenarios you can use:
- A friend dropped all of their candy. You still have your candy.
- You see your friend crying in the park. You ask why they are crying. They say “I wanted to play with the other kids, but they said, ‘No.'”
- You are in the store with your mom and you see someone drop something on the floor.
Role-playing these different situations with your kids helps prepare them for being kind at the moment and encourages compassionate responses.
Random Acts of Kindness
An act of kindness is a spontaneous gesture of goodwill towards someone or something. Practicing random acts of kindness with your kids is a lot of fun! It’s also a great way to model kindness while encouraging your kids to show kindness to everyone.
Need ideas for acts of kindness? Here are some of our favorite examples:
- Make small cards for strangers with inspiring quotes or bible verses.
- Hold the door open for someone.
- Invite someone new to play with you.
- Help mom with a chore without being asked.
- Gather up toys to donate to others.
- Create kindness rocks or crafts to give others.
Acting out in kindness changes your child’s perspective of the world. Suddenly, she might start to see a brighter, better world. She will learn that she can have a positive effect on the world and the people around her. It’s a great way to boost self-esteem and give your children a happy, healthy outlook while making the world a kinder place for everyone.
Kindness Activities for Kids
If you have fun doing acts of kindness together, think about creating an “acts of kindness challenge!” Challenge your kids to a competition to see who can complete the most random acts of kindness or set a goal (for example, 10 acts of kindness in one week).
Keep track of each act of kindness completed and give recognition to encourage kids to keep going. Point out all the positive changes you are noticing in your kids. Then, explain that these changes are because you’ve all been practicing kindness.
Do you have more great ideas for practicing kindness with kids and teaching them how to show empathy? Share your own tips and random acts of kindness in the comments.
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