Are you tired of those well-behaved, kind, and empathetic children? Me, neither. I’m always grateful to these kids and make it a point to acknowledge them on their manners, respect and kindness. But let’s face it, this isn’t always the norm.
We’ve certainly experienced unkindness and honestly we’ve seen our own kids dabble in it, too. So, we work hard to teach our kids about the strength that comes with kindness. As World Kindness Day approaches on November 13th, let’s talk about how NOT to raise cruel kids, and instead, raise kind kids who make the world a better place–one smile, word and gesture at a time!
Parents, we are our kids’ first teachers and role models. They watch us and mimic our behavior, so it’s crucial that we show kindness and empathy in our daily lives. Teach them how to treat others with love and respect by modeling it yourself–yes, even when you don’t feel like it. It’s probably the most difficult thing to do – I’m still working on this myself!!
Sure, sharing may not come naturally to kids, BUT it’s a vital skill that promotes generosity and empathy. Encourage your kids to share with siblings, friends, and even strangers when appropriate. Praise them when they do!
Engage your little ones in open conversations about emotions. Teach them that it’s okay to feel sad, angry, frustrated or joy, but also show them how to express these feelings constructively. This helps them understand the importance of empathy and how their words and actions can affect others. In our household, we’ve learned that home is where you see all the emotions. The reports from school often paint a different picture compared to the whirlwind of emotions we witness at home. We understand now that they need a safe outlet to feel all the feels and be able to share about them. And if they struggle to open up to you, find them someone else they trust – can make a world of difference in helping them embrace and express their emotions in a healthy way.
Every child is unique, and we should celebrate their individuality. Help your kids appreciate the differences in others and themselves. Teach them that it’s okay to be different and that diversity makes the world a beautiful place. One of my favorite ways to teach kids about uniqueness and diversity is Curious B.E.I.N.G.s Bingo, which allows them to explore and celebrate the diversity of their peers. Learn how to play here.
Encouraging inclusion goes hand-in-hand with teaching kids to embrace uniqueness and diversity. The feeling of being included and accepted is a strong need of all kids (and adults). We thrive and flourish through connection and relationship with others. Encourage your kids to be friends with kids who are different from them!
Being curious about others leads to better understanding of their lives, experiences and perspectives – even if they are different from our own. The more curious a child is, the more he/she learns and empathizes, which is why curiosity is so important!
Help your children understand the feelings and experiences of others by reading books, watching movies, and having conversations that revolve around different perspectives. This will help them empathize and be compassionate towards others! Inspired by my son Guion, I wrote the children’s book, “Guion The Lion,” to help parents like me and teachers initiate conversations with the children about empathy and the beauty of embracing others’ perspectives. Check it out here.
Help your kids develop an attitude of gratitude. Make it a routine to talk about things you’re thankful for. It fosters positivity and helps them see the good in others and appreciate the kindness they receive!
Promote acts of kindness in your home. Simple gestures like helping with chores, writing thank-you cards, or making gifts for loved ones can go a long way in teaching compassion and generosity. Need some ideas for acts of kindness? Check out our deck of Random Acts of Kindness Cards.
All in all, raising kind and compassionate, kids is all about creating a loving and supportive environment, leading by example, and practicing empathy in your daily life. And know, it’s hard because even as adults we slip up, too. Acknowledge your mistakes, say your sorry and go easy on yourself (and your kids) – we’re all human – learning and growing everyday, together. But we can make a positive difference in our kids and in our world.
Curious B.E.I.N.G.s are who we aspire to be, and we want to take you and your kids along for the adventure of leading a kind and caring life. Through our products and resources, children can develop the skills and qualities they need to thrive and reach their full potential. For more ideas of how to teach kids about inclusion, curiosity and compassion, follow Curious B.E.I.N.G.s on Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to the Curious B.E.I.N.G.s newsletter.