SingaporeMotherhood | Parenting
Teaching Kids to be Kind: The Hows and Whys
Kindness is a virtue, and it’s so important we impart it to our children. Here’s the hows and whys of teaching kids to be kind.
In an increasingly apathetic world, kindness is what drives us forward. On a bad day, a kind smile from a stranger makes the world seem like a better place. Be it someone holding the lift for us, giving us way on the road, or even just a courteous cashier – kindness impacts us every single day.
Why is important to raise kind kids?
It may seem like a waste of time to focus on imparting kindness to our kids these days. Between school work, tuition classes, and a whole host of activities, there isn’t any time. Is kindness such an important subject? Yes.
While kindness may not get your child the best grades or the medal at sports day, its effects are far greater. Raising kind kids means knowing that they’ll treat others with empathy and sympathy. Adults often complain that “kids these days simply don’t care”, but do little to change that. By emphasising kindness in our families, we can teach our kids to care more!
How do I do it?
While the idea of raising kind kids is great, as parents, we often find it a challenge. How do we impart such a vast concept in a way that our kids can comprehend? Fret not, here are some ideas you can try!
1. Encourage Empathy
Empathy is the root of kindness – being able to place ourselves in the shoes of others and understand their struggles. You can encourage empathy in your kids by speaking to them at their level. When they’re acting out, instead of scolding them immediately, try asking them questions. “Can you help me understand why you’re feeling this way?” “You seem to have a lot of anger, what’s wrong?”
It may seem counterintuitive at first, but once they’re calm, there’s a teachable moment. Tell them that you were able to empathise with their pains and struggles, and this is how you showed kindness to them. Kids learn best via examples, and they’ll catch on by mimicking your actions. Soon, you’ll see them extending empathy to others who are struggling too.
2. Sharing is Caring
Ah, the age old “sharing is caring” mantra. We may have heard it hundreds of times, but it’s still true. Sharing is a great way for kids to develop kindness. Our kids often get the best of what the world has to offer – iPads, iPhones, you name it. However, they don’t always know that not every child has such privilege.
During their birthdays or holidays, why not go shopping with your child? But instead of only buying them presents, shop with them for children who are in need. Make a trip down to your favourite children’s charity and spread some kindness by donating those gifts to underprivileged children. Not only will this allow you to teach your child about sharing, it’ll also bless other children at the same time!
3. Live by Example
As parents, we live busy lives. Things can get hectic, especially when we’ve got children to look after. However, it’s easy to forget that our kids look up to us. They see the things we do and follow them, using our words and actions as an example.
If we want to raise kind kids, we ourselves have to show kindness first. Through our everyday actions, especially when we’re around our kids, we need to be beacons of kindness. We’re not perfect, and there are definitely times when we’ll slip up. But for the most part, it’s important to show our kids examples of kindness in everyday life. Be it being polite to wait staff, or holding the door for a neighbour – they absorb all of our actions too. If we truly want to raise kind kids, our actions are the best examples they have.
As the world becomes increasingly unkind and selfish, it’s of utmost importance that our children remain kind. As parents, we want to raise kind kids who are giving, loving, and full of joy. We want them to show love and compassion to others, and offer hope in difficult times. Hence, it’s even more important that we put time and effort into raising kind kids, and not just focus on the measurable.
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