November 13, 2018
Today is World Kindness Day, a moment to celebrate and highlight kindness and compassion. This virtue is one that starts at home and that you, as a parent, can foster early on.
Here are a few tips to raise kind children.
Greeting others with a smile
Let’s start by reminding our children to acknowledge and greet others, like saying good morning or good afternoon when crossing paths with strangers on the bus, when hiking or in stores. A simple nod or smile of acknowledgment is a good start.
"Look people in the eye." At a time when it’s difficult to get children's eyes off screens, let's explain that the warmth of eye contact, with a smile, makes all the difference!
Back to the essentials of politeness
Hello. Please. Thank you (or no, thank you). Goodbye. Children sometimes forget these words too easily.
Waiting for people to get off the bus before trying to get on, offering up their seat to the elderly, disabled or pregnant women.
Holding the door open for people at school or the mall.
Thinking of others, asking about them with a simple "How’s it going?” and then actually listening to the answer.
Teach your child to consider others
Sharing is caring. Every now and then, round up your kids for a clean-up day and gather outgrown clothing or lonely toys to donate. Get them to engage in this process and explain that they are helping children in need through their act of giving.
Teach empathy. It’s a simple principle: put yourself in other people’s shoes once in a while and treat others the way you would like to be treated. Or even better, strive to be the best version of yourself. If you see bullying at school, don’t hesitate to defend the weakest. Faced with injustice, talk to a responsible adult. Helping people in difficulty, talking to the rejected, volunteering... there are so many ways to give and to help others.
The more your child helps others, the more it will become a second nature, and he or she will grow up to become an adult everyone wants to befriend.
Random acts of kindness
Actions speak louder than words. Encourage your child to perform small acts of kindness, perhaps a special gesture to help or thank a teacher, a coach, a friend, a babysitter, or a relative. Encourage your children to show gratitude and appreciation toward the people who make a difference in their lives. A word of recognition or a small symbolic gift is so good for the soul! And why not foster this culture in your own home: tell your kids how much you would appreciate breakfast in bed on weekends, or that shovelling the driveway really helps out, without anything in return!
Modelling kindness in your everyday interactions
It’s common knowledge that children do not do as we say, but mimic our own actions. So, it’s our job to set a good example every day.
You can be kind too; why not write a note to put in your child’s lunchbox?
Make time to play and talk with them. Look them in the eye when they talk to you, say “please” when you ask them something, and then say “thank you” afterward. Smile to them for encouragement and say you are proud and love them.
And finally, let’s remind our children that anything that puts a smile on someone’s face, whether they are important to us or are a stranger, helps make the world a better place for all. And they will realize being kind makes them feel good.