This time of year, there is a focus on kindness, charity, and thoughtfulness. Help your child to understand that being the giver of kindness can be just as rewarding as being the recipient with these seven strategies to raise kinder kids.
- Send kind thoughts. If you know a family who is going through a hard time, let your child know a little bit about what is going on, and ask her to send kind thoughts along with you, whether it’s in the form of a card, a message, or, if your family prays, as a special prayer.
- Play the “warm and fuzzy” game. Ask everyone in your family to sit in a circle. When it is a particular person’s “term”, everyone else in the circle must tell that person three things they love about them. Each person will feel joy at having been the recipient and the giver of love and affection.
- Share stories of kindness and generosity. When you read a story about someone showing compassion to others and going above and beyond to be a helper, tell your child about this person as a way of giving them a model.
- Whether it’s sorting food at a food bank, cuddling kittens at a shelter, or singing for elderly patients at a nursing home, making others happy can become a regular tradition for you and your children.
- Write letters. Letters from kids are always well received by soldiers abroad, patients in the hospital, and other members of the community who are experiencing challenges during the holidays. Writing letters of friendship and support can be a nice activity to do with your kids.
- Monitor television and movies. Stay on top of the media your child consumes. Even popular kids’ movies and TV shows can contain messaging that’s not entirely virtuous. Characters use negative language toward one another, and selfishness and greed is sometimes seen as a “funny”.
- Point out when behavior has consequences on others. When your child says something hurtful, or does something harmful, like hitting or stealing another child’s toy, have a talk about what the other person in the situation may be feeling.
Do you see moments of genuine kindness in your child? What do you think has fostered that kindness? Let us know in the comments section.