Illuminate kindness for your children
Empathy, love, understanding, being inclusive, empowerment, sharing, compassion, accepting and generosity. Just some of the emotions and actions we can relate to kindness, one of the most transforming riches that everyone has at their fingertips. One small drop can ripple out with life changing effects that we may never hear or see. It can touch someone to the core in an instant, uplift all that are involved, while holding so much magic and beauty. It’s all of this, plus the immense kindness I have been afforded in life, that propels me to teach this wealth of wisdom to our children for their social and emotional development, and home is a great place to start.
Four facets that promote kindness
- Role modelling – our children learn so much from watching adult values, attitudes and behaviours so be kind wherever you can and highlight that act by talking about the kindness
- Create rituals that illuminate kindness – these can be as basic or in-depth as you like. For example, it may be that you teach your children manners and again highlight the act as being kind. Alternatively it may be that you light a candle at dinner and spend a few moments talking about the kindness you received in your day.
- Work with your child’s strengths – be led by what enthuses your child, whether it be showing kindness to their coach, teacher, or grandparent. Perhaps it’s a random act of community kindness.
- Praise, praise, praise - by praising the acts of kindness your child does you will steadily build that as one of their attributes.
A kindness activity for your home
Testing of the boundaries is a part of our children’s development, and sometimes this will bring out-of-control developmental tantrums which can spiral into a stressful and exhausting environment for all. I know, because that’s what made me try this transforming activity with my son when he was three. It worked wonders!
Large Jars – one for every family member
Reward – optional
Write out your family’s names and the words, ‘Is it Kind?’ on separate pieces of paper and place these onto the jars. These will be the words that you use when your child does something that isn’t kind e.g. hurts someone or something, doesn’t listen, screams, etc.
When they do something that is kind, or they change their behaviour after you have asked them ‘Is It Kind?’ they get to put a ‘warm fuzzy’ into the jar. When you do something kind, especially for them, you get to put a warm fuzzy in your jar. This can be for basic things like putting on your child’s shoes, making their breakfast, taking them to preschool. Doing this helps your child to see the kindness in his everyday life that you as parents give, which begins to create a foundation of appreciation.
Last Updated: 13 November 2018