Developing kindness in your children at a young age will help them grow to be conscientious, compassionate adults. Rather than provide a lecture or educational lesson on kindness, there are day-to-day things you can do for and with your child to encourage understanding and empathy. Here are some suggestions to teach kindness in your child on a regular basis.
Arrange a play date with your child’s friend or classmate.
Schedule playtime with your child’s friend or a classmate. Friendships teach children how to play and communicate with others. A play date with a classmate allows your child to learn how to make friends, how to share, and how to interact with others. If you see your child do something nice for a friend, reward her actions with a kind word such as, “That was a nice, kind thing you did” or “You were being very thoughtful.” If you see your child push a classmate or call a friend an unkind name, pull your child aside and explain to your child those actions and words are unacceptable and unkind.
Take a walk with the family pet.
Friendships come in all shapes and sizes! Pets are loyal companions that offer comfort, support, and unconditional love. Take a long walk with your family pet and have your child lead with the leash. This teaches her responsibility and lets her bond with her pet. Your child will also be required to concentrate on the pet’s needs, stopping for bathroom breaks and letting your pet sniff mailboxes and stop to greet other animals. By paying attention to your pet’s needs, your child will learn how to be considerate of others.
Have your child give his or her best friend a thoughtful gift.
A friendship gift—like matching bracelets, a framed picture, or a homemade treat—is a kind and loving gesture. Have your child give a present on a regular day, not a special occasion, to show that gifts from the heart are the very best! A personalized photo book such as We Go Together Like… which features two children’s names and photos, is a keepsake gift that both children can read together and treasure
Be a good neighbor.
Do something kind for a neighbor. Bake a neighbor a cake, help an elderly neighbor take their garbage bin down the driveway, or help play with a neighbor family’s young kids. These small acts will teach your child to be kind to others and help someone in need
Set up a lemonade stand and donate the proceeds to charity.
A lemonade stand is a classic, simple way to teach kids about responsibility and generosity. Try setting up the stand in your neighborhood, where more people may stop. You can use a water cooler as your table and hang a sign (handmade by your child) that says the proceeds will be donated to a certain charity. By keeping your child active in the entire process, your child will feel empowered and happy about giving back to others.