Being kind is not only the right thing to do, it is the healthiest thing to do. When you are kind, your relationships are stronger and more meaningful, you experience less interpersonal stress, and you smile more. Therefore, you want to help your child foster kindness. Not only will they be a compassionate child, this care for their fellow man will extend into adulthood. Fortunately, teaching kindness is the same as teaching your child any quality: it’s more effective when you demonstrate it yourself. Read on for some ways you can encourage kindness.
A smile is the simplest way to be kind. A warm smile can make more of a difference than you might think, and sharing this small gift communicates to your child its importance. Smile at your child to convey your love, and smile at strangers to spread the wealth. By demonstrating this powerful act of kindness, your child will learn by example.
You can tell your child all you want that they need to share—if you aren’t sharing yourself, they aren’t getting the message. Demonstrate generosity in your daily life, whether it is through sharing your ice cream with your spouse or giving a gift to your child’s teacher. Beyond being generous with those who directly touch your life, give back by showing compassion to those in need. Donate your things and volunteer your time. You may find a cause that you and your child can both care about that allows you to regularly volunteer, such as feeding the hungry at a soup kitchen. Look for opportunities to be generous so your child learns to do the same.
You are protective of your child, so when they have a spat with another child, it may be tempting to point fingers. Instead, use these moments as an opportunity to teach empathy. Listen to the story without judgment. Then, look for where you could encourage empathy; for example, you may say, “Your friend doesn’t usually yell, so maybe they were tired or bothered about something else. What do you think?” Encourage your child to think critically about where others are coming from.
Reinforce Kind Behaviors
When your child is kind, it is a good opportunity for you to use positive reinforcement. You could try a “kindness jar,” in which you place a marble or bead every time they perform an act of kindness. When it’s full, you can reward them with a special activity or a coveted toy. Alternatively, you can communicate the importance of kindness by praising the behavior. Express your appreciation of their care when you see it in the moment.
Give Affection Freely
Your child is not a baby anymore, so you don’t want to coddle them, but everyone benefits from love and affection. In those moments when everyone in the house is feeling grumpy, it can be tempting to withdraw your affection, but these times create teaching moments. In response to tough times, give your child a hug. This not only helps them, it helps you—hugs release dopamine, giving you both a lovely little mood boost. This also shows your child the power of love and kindness in difficult moments.
At Foundations for Learning, we aim to instill kindness in all our preschoolers. If you are looking for a compassionate child care provider in Southington, contact our preschool here today.