In today’s society, children are often taught bad habits early on in life. Many kids learn their habits of being impolite or lacking kindness from their parents or caregivers. It is very important to teach children the acts of kindness and empathy so that they can further develop how to interact with their peers as they grow into an adult. Here are five tips on how to teach kindness and empathy to your children as they age:
1. Be a Role Model
Being a good role model is one of the most important concepts to teaching your children kindness and empathy. Children look up to their guardians and often mimic what adults do and how they socialize with others. If your child notices that you are acting impolite to a cashier or waitress, they are likely to act the same way in the future. As an alternative, if children observe you going out of your way to help someone, or simply complimenting a person on their appearance, they are most likely going to learn these actions and do the same.
2. Incorporate Books Into The Learning Process
A fun way to teach your children about kindness and empathy is by reading them books that educate them on how to treat others with respect. Here is a list of books that are known to be successful in teaching children kindness and empathy:
Horton Hears a Who!: The famous book by Dr. Seuss has been teaching children about kindness since 1954. The quote “A person's a person, no matter how small,” teaches children to practice kindness towards others, no matter who they are or how they look.
The Giving Tree: The Giving Tree was written by Shel Silverstein in 1964. It teaches children empathy and the act of giving.
Kindness Is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler: This book is about a teacher who incorporates kindness into her classroom. The colorful pages in this book and the message of incorporating good deeds and kindness into our daily lives will have both you and your child loving it!
Wonder: Wonder is a book geared towards older children that teaches about the act of courage and kindness in the face of adversity.
3. Teach Them Gratitude
Teaching your children to be grateful for what they have is an important concept in order for them to learn kindness and empathy. It is important to teach them that many others in this world are less fortunate, so they don’t take what they have for granted. Once they have learned gratitude, they are less likely to be rude to others who may be in a different situation as them growing up.
4. Remember That Your Children Have Bad Days
According to Psychology Today, people tend to be more rude when they are having a bad day. The same goes for your children. Oftentimes, your child may have had a frustrating day at school, or maybe they don't feel good — leading them to come across as rude or unkind to others. Recognize when this happens and simply address that their actions are not okay.
5. Teach Them That Everyone is Different In Their Own Way
It is extremely important that your children know that every person is different in their own way. Oftentimes, children don’t understand that everyone has their own lives and feelings. When your children are educated on diversity, they are more likely to practice kindness towards others.
Teaching Your Children Kindness and Empathy Can Truly Make a Difference
According to a quote by M. Swanepoel, “Kindness is love made visible.” Teaching your children kindness and empathy can help them build confidence, as well as help them navigate a little easier through life as they grow into adults.