Teaching Kids How to Be Kind
Kindness is not something we are born with. It is taught. Children learn from watching others. Therefore, we must show them and teach what acts of kindness mean. Teaching others how to be kind is not a one-time lesson but something talked about and practiced daily. Even as teenagers and adults, we can still use reminders of what it means to be kind and considerate.
When teaching kindness, it is a good idea to discuss specific actions that demonstrate the trait. So just saying “You are a kind person” or “He/she is nice” are vague statements and do not pinpoint the specific behavior. To further illustrate, try brainstorming together what kind acts look like, write them down or draw pictures on a paper, and practice kind behavior so the child can visualize them. Point out kind behaviors that the child does or other people around you are doing.
My kids and I made a poster and split it in half. One side says “Kind” and the other column says “Not Kind.” We found pictures that emulated both, and my children sorted them into the two columns. We also made a puppet show showing the characters performing nice deeds and some not-so-nice to show them a distinction between the two. We had both silly and serious re-enactments, and either way, it was a good basic discussion of the concepts.
Stories are another excellent way to teach children about kindness. Below are several stories that you can read together: (affiliate links below)
The best way to teach kindness is to apply the actions in real life. Seeing it as a regularly occurring natural habit, and not just as a one-time lesson plan, is the ultimate way to instill this value.
Using The Kindness Elves
Another adorable, motivating, and innovative idea is the introduction of the Kindness Elves to your children. Similar to the Elf on the Shelf, the elves visit the house or classroom, however, the main focus of the Kindness Elves is to spread love, kindness, and compassion. We love that the purpose of the Kindness Elves is to guide children and inspire kindness. The positive intention is a wonderful motivator for little ones. This is also such a fun and playful way for children to learn about kind acts. One of the main ways the Kindness Elves guide children is by leaving a postcard and/or letter for the child with a suggested good deed. They have an accessories kit to make the process easy and memorable for the family. Watch how easy it is to implement with the video below:
The Kindness Elves come with the little house that has a slot for the “Magic Mail.” My children have been writing to the Kindness Elves often and leave notes for them in the “Magic Mail” slot. They are excited to hear from the elves, whether it is a suggestion for a good deed or feedback on something nice they have done lately.
There is a wide variety of elves to choose from as well! You can select a different skin color and wardrobe color. Each elf has a unique talent and occupation. My daughters give you a peek at the Wish Maker and Nature Lover elves in their video below:
You can check out the Kindness Elves website (using that affiliate link) for even more details.
The most important way to teach kindness is to model the behavior. Live and breathe kindness. Children are constantly learning from the example we set before them. Show them kindness in how you treat them and how you treat others. From our words to gestures whether small to large, if children are surrounded by generosity and warmth, they too will get a stronger understanding of what kindness is.
There are numerous way that you show kindness every day and just do not realize it because many of them are simple and habitual, such as offering to help someone with a task, or thanking someone. There are other actions we can implement more of, to spread care in this world. If you’d like to fill up your month with positivity, take the Kindness Challenge, doing at least one kind deed per day for the month. This is a good challenge for not only your kids but something that the whole family can take. By taking it in small steps, it will hopefully inspire habitual benevolence and more charitable actions for the upcoming years to follow and to also spread further in the community and ideally globally. Click the image button below to join us on this challenge and get access to 30+ acts of kindness to fill up your month.
Kindheartedness as Inspiration
Although we are human, and we make mistakes and do or say things we regret, we can move forward and choose more benevolent behaviors for the next time. We cannot always control what others do, but we can control our own actions. Leading by example and trying our best to show compassion, to be caring, and helpful will make an impression on others, and will hopefully inspire the same. Kindness can be the best gift we can give to anyone. It’s free, is valuable, and you’ve got nothing to lose.