Encouraging kindness with your children is one of the most important aspects of character development. Children can learn that being kind and giving to others produces a number of benefits, which they may not be aware of or understand. With so many children today being unfamiliar with what true kindness represents, some actually need to be encouraged in the process.
Parents can participate in helping their children develop acts of kindness. It starts with letting children know exactly what extending kindness is, how it is done and what its benefits are. An actual explanation of kindness is best transmitted to children as being able to observe and feel for the needs and misfortunes of others.
Lead by Example
Give your children examples of how extending kindness happens. Tell them about different organizations that help others. Make a chart showing a few organizations and how they bring kindness to others. The Salvation Army, Toys for Tots, and Operation Christmas Child are just a few good ones to use.
Tell your children about random acts of kindness that other children have done. Look in magazines and on the internet for examples, such as the young boy from Australia who created and made his own line of stuffed bears to give to children in hospitals as well as the little girl who gave her birthday cupcakes to her local garbage collector friend.
Once children understand what kindness entails, further explain to them that once kindness is given, their lives will be different, especially if they haven’t participated in giving in the past. They can experience feeling more relaxed and less stressed. They can interact better with family and friends, plus be happier and healthier individuals. As an added bonus, they are able to perform better in school.
Encouraging kindness doesn’t have to be an outlandish or difficult process with children. It can be initiated with a daily act of kindness week where everyone in the family is involved in a kindness activity, such as doing the dishes for mom, washing dad’s car, taking out the garbage, picking up toys and any other number of activities. Happy families are giving families. They realize that participating in acts of kindness advances cohesiveness in the family unit.
Family acts of kindness can be extended to the local school, neighborhood, the community at large and beyond. Ask your children what they can do to better the lives of others and their community. Let them put on their thinking caps and come up with a bucket list of kindness activities.
With the holidays fast approaching, there are innumerable opportunities for encouraging kindness activities with your children. Inspiring children to participate in acts of kindness especially during the holidays can be infectious, and the possibilities for your children to extend kind acts to others can be truly gratifying.