Kindness doesn’t come to us naturally. Kids learn kindness, compassion, and a caring attitude with time, through life. However, there are a bunch of things that we can do to encourage kids to be kinder, gentler, compassionate, caring people. We are born compassionate, Comforting others comes naturally to us. We only have to get our kids in touch with those feelings.
Early signs of empathy, kindness and warmth
Kids, even four and five-year olds are generally empathetic. When their friends are hurt or crying, you might just see your little one comforting the crying kid, offering a toy or something on those lines. That’s kindness and empathy in a raw, real form.
As kids grow up, they might tend to share more and show natural warmth. They might even understand the concept of compassion, kindness and warmth by then, if put in the context that they can connect with. Here’s your chance to help them grow.
When you have a loving compassionate family, where hugging your kids, tucking them into bed, being there for them is a norm, they will naturally learn to love and give. However, here are a few ways to ensure that your kids learn compassion, kindness, being warm and caring:
- Believe in their goodness: If you tend to think that your kids are rude, mean or not thoughtful, that is how they will shape up. If you believe in their inherent kindness, warmth, empathy and compassion, they will exhibit those very traits. For kids, they will be what you believe them to be. So trust their goodness, and don’t name their evolving personalities.
- Model positive behavior: They learn from you, all the time. When you be kind to the house help, compassionate to a friend who needs help, loving and kind to strangers and folks alike, give and share openly, your kids will mirror your behavior. Those are the values that they will learn from you, instinctively and take with them, wherever they go.
- Treat your kids with respect: They may be young, but treating them recklessly or without thoughtfulness will set the stage for abysmal behavior from them. Just like with adults, kids need to be treated with respect as well. That does two things. Fills them up with healthy self esteem and tell them “This is how you are supposed to treat everyone.” When you want them to stop playing, tell them that lovingly. When you want them to resolve conflict with their siblings and friends, tell them how you and your spouse don’t always agree with each other but respect and listen to each other.
- Teach kids to read expressions: Tell them how it is to walk in other people’s shoes. Model how being empathetic and figuring out how someone is feeling looks like. Teach them to gauge people’s expressions and figure out what they need or how they are feeling. This goes a long way in helping kids be warm, kind and helpful.
- How they treat others is very important: Let them know that. If they think that messing with a stray dog is funny, let them know that it is not. It is mean and hurtful. If they think that teasing a friend about his height or her size is funny, tell them how it could be really hurtful. Let them know how important it is that they treat people well.
- Don’t let them get away with rudeness: Don’t let them get away with rude remarks. When a stranger or family acts rude, put that in perspective by remarking how he/she must be having a hard day to act like that. Teach how rudeness need not be reciprocated with rudeness.
- Do acknowledge their kindness: When your kids act sweet, do acknowledge and appreciate them for their thoughtful, warm behavior. When they be kind to their friends, to their siblings and you, do appreciate them. Also make it a point to appreciate random strangers who treat you well.
- Understand where they are coming from: Kids make their own theories and perceptions. If they make a remark about someone acting inappropriate, do ask them why do they say that. Try to understand their perspective before you launch into an explanation and tell them that they are mistaken.
- Watch what they learn from the world around: In this age of information overload, they come across all sorts of things on TV and everywhere else. Do watch out for your kids imitating what they see in the movies, online and so on. If you see something odd, talk it out.
- Avoid competition at home: Let’s not get our kids to compete against each other by asking “Who will finish homework first?” “Who will clean up faster” and things like that. That will foster negativity. Instead, you can encourage them to team up and achieve things together. That would be beautiful.
- Show them how to be warm, compassionate and kind: Be the wonderful person that you want your kids to be
- Be patient with your kids: They will learn with time. Don’t worry or get worked up when they act up. Give them time and use oodles of patience. You keep being awesome and watch them learn from you!
And whenever you need a pick-me-up, you know where to find us. You are an awesome parent to want to bring up compassionate, kind kids full of warmth. And we are always here to help you achieve your parenting dreams and make the journey easy and fun for you.