Thursday, December 27, 2018

Parenting Pointers: Three Easy Ways to Foster Kindness in Kids (and Adults)!

Kindness is a quality that is greatly appreciated, and one parents would want to foster in their children. Even the smallest act can reduce fear, anxiety, and stress in others, and puts forward faith, trust, and appreciation. How to do this? There are three key ways:
  1. Demonstrate kindness to others yourself!  However, this may not be immediately noticed since we don’t often remark on our own such behaviors.  Still important though, since children are always watching, and consistent behavior will show results.
  2. Observe and remark on acts of kindness seen around us. When someone holds the door for you, you might say “Thank you! You’re so kind!”  As a parent you can create situations where siblings/friends are prompted to do something helpful for one another and be sure to generously remark on the kindness of the behavior. They will come to see that there is value in kindness.
  3. Consider the kindness of others to us, even if they are not known to us.  This is my favorite way to showcase kindness, especially for older children. I usually start this with a simple cup of tea. Make it a game and think of all the people, in all the world, that were involved in your being able to enjoy a cup of tea.  Make it as expansive as possible including sowers and growers, harvesters and packers, shippers and truck drivers and road builders, stockers and cashiers. In this way children, and their adults, will realize that every single thing we enjoy is brought to us through the kindness of others.
Make this routine in your family and soon your children will follow your example.  Remember that in all of our choices, we can always choose to be kind.

Susan Pepka is a former preschool teacher and the author of Gus’ Fortunate Misfortune, now available on Amazon. She is based in Atlanta.

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