It’s never too early to start teaching your kids about kindness. These tendencies are ingrained in them from a young age, as GreatGood explains; ‘Many studies have demonstrated that children as young as 14 months have innate altruistic tendencies, well before socialization can have a major influence on their development. We share some of the best ways to inspire kindness in your kids:
Teach them the Difference
In order to understand the act of kindness, you need to be able to compare it with what it means to be unkind. Many times it’s easier for someone to learn what ‘not to do’ than ‘what to do’. Allow your kids to explore how their feelings regarding the actions of other people, and how this influences them. Ask them to differentiate between kind and unkind acts, so that they know what type of behaviour to practice.
Introduce them to Mindfulness and Meditation
Being kind has a lot to do with understanding what you are feeling and how your actions influence others. Help your kids understand their emotions and feelings by introducing them to mindfulness and meditation. Practicing meditation, for example, will help them focus, analyze and understand their inner workings. Once they feel at balance with themselves, it will be easier to attend to the wants and needs of others. Make use of tools such as the Handheld Labyrinth to help them learn the art of meditation.
Expose them the Right Content
Even though there are many educational and informative content on television, the trending cartoons many times depict characters doing a disservice or being rebellious, as being popular. Try to manage what gets into their minds by curating the content they get exposed to. If you aren’t sure which shows or books are great, watch a few episodes with them, and try to understand why they find certain stories appealing.
Making use of particular characters as an example can do wonders for inspiring kindness in your kids. They already relate to the characters from their favourite shows, so ‘mimicking’ their behaviour would come more naturally than ‘following’ a rule that you suggest as a parent. Think of Winnie the Pooh, for example, the show is based on kindness and living a mindful, happy life.
“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude”. – A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh
Start a Kindness Project as a Family
Inspiring kids to be kind is very much about your daily attitude and activities as a family. If you lead by example and practice kindness daily, it would be much easier to inspire these actions in the rest of the family.
Consider starting a Kindness Project as a family, where you choose activities and actions that promote kindness. These acts can be rewarded within the family structure which will lead to it being a positive experience. Kindness activities can include helping a family member with a chore, helping someone find a job, assisting a neighbour in gardening, taking food to a homeless shelter, complimenting those around you, hugging family members regularly and many more. Assign activities that you know your kids will enjoy, so that the act of kindness comes naturally.