Life Skills for Children A-Z – K is for Kindness

Kindness is the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate – things we should all strive to be. It has value and impacts enormously not only on us but on the society and environment in which we live.

Showing kindness is certainly not difficult to do and it’s not difficult to teach. Doing something for others often make us feel good about ourselves and benefits both the giver and the receiver. It also has a habit of snowballing as we experience such good, positive feelings we end up wanting to do more kind things.

By developing your child’s kindness skills at home, they’ll naturally take these skills out into the world with them. This will impact positively on their behaviour at school and with friends.

Here are a few simple suggestions on how to get them started:

Walk the Talk

Don’t explain, simply show ’em how it’s done. Demonstrate to them in your everyday lives examples of kindness:

  • visit an elderly neighbour and help them out or offer to carry a bag for them
  • give up your seat on the bus for a pregnant women or older person
  • clear out good but unused things and give them to charity
  • buy a homeless person some food or give them some good clothes/blankets you no longer use or need
  • participate in charity runs, walks, sponsor silences, etc. to raise money for charities

Be Kind to Your Own Children

Run a tight ship with rules and regulations but run it with a kind and respectful hand.

Reward Kindness

If you witness an act of kindness be it sharing a packet of sweets, giving in over a choice of outing or television programme or helping a sibling or you tidy up, give it the positive attention it deserves. Shower it with praise and that little bud of kindness will grow.

Be Inventive

Suggest at a parent’s evening that your child’s class run a “caught being kind” campaign*. Any kid caught being kind gets reported to the teacher and rewarded with positive attention, a treat or an extra star – be inventive. They could also make friendship bracelets for pen pals or exchange students from their twinned towns or another school in your area.

Read Books About It

Read about acts of kindness with your kids and talk through how the characters must have felt, etc. There are a whole host of books out there.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein; The Paper Crane by Molly Bang; Pay it Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde (this one became the most unbelievable film. Why not watch it together?)

How are you teaching your children to be kind? We’d love a CANDo email or comment about it.

*Maury Nation from the Vanderbilt University tested a programme for this in schools.

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