Kindness and Compassion: Generous-Hearted Kids
Saying that parenting is a tough job is an understatement. We have to provide physically and emotionally for our children, teach them right from wrong, and guide them to be productive citizens. Part of being a productive citizen includes getting along well with others, which includes being kind and generous. Those skills go a long way towards helping your child be successful in other endeavors.
Let’s take a look at some of the BEST ways we know to encourage these behaviors of altruism.
1. Model it. The best way to raise kind and generous children is to model selflessness. Be willing to serve others and do so both when and where your children will see you. Shovel snow for an elderly neighbor, serve meals at a homeless shelter, or deliver meals to the elderly or housebound. Encourage your children to join you as you reach out to others.
2. Make a game of it. Encourage your little ones to take turns by giving them something. When they give it back to you, praise them or clap your hands to display your approval. Say, “That’s so kind of you to share! Thank you!” This is reinforced by their desire to please you and will prepare them to learn to share.
3. Feelings matter. Besides teaching your child to share, you also want them to learn to understand another’s feelings. You want your children to pay attention to others when they’re being spoken to, so your best choice is to stop what you’re doing and pay attention to them. Since children are little copycats, they’re likely to duplicate what they’re shown. Remember the poem,“Children Learn What They Live”, modeling how you want your child to act is the best way to teach them empathy.
4. Generosity is contagious. Let your children see your generosity. Let them see you write out a check to a local charity. Encourage them to let go of some toys they no longer play with or clothing they no longer wear. This will be easier for them when they get new things. Allow them to take the items they’re giving away to a local women’s shelter or children’s charity.
5. Encourage gratitude. Teach your child to acknowledge gifts they receive. Rather than simply telling someone thank you, help them write thank you notes for each gift. This may be difficult for very small children, but it should be easy for older children who can write. Not only will this activity teach your children to be considerate - it can also help their handwriting skills.
6. Grow kind hearts. Teaching children (even young children) about kindness is something we can do intentionally and over time. When we make it fun and activity-based, the learning takes hold even quicker! Incorporate social skill building into your day at home, in the classroom or in your childcare setting! See our Social Skill Heart Bundle (below) for kindness and compassion for more details.
Thinking of ways of teaching kids how to be generous can be a challenge, but one that’s well worth it. The rewarding feeling you get when you see them demonstrate kindness, generosity and altruism.
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