Teaching Children Kindness

It's rare that she misbehaves, but when she does, I often find myself telling Lily that something 'is not kind'.

It is not kind to snatch things.

It is not kind to say hurtful things.

It is not kind to throw toys.

I do this because I'd rather say 'we don't do this because it is not kind' rather than just label something as 'naughty' but today, the prompt for Rosalilium's Blog Every Day in November challenge is about World Kindness Day, and it made me wonder whether I spend enough time teaching my children what IS kind, as opposed to what is not.

We all want our children to be kind. I think you'd be hard pushed to find any parent out there who would not value kindness as a trait in their children. It's just I've never thought before about how exactly I want to instill that kindness in their hearts.

I think that random acts of kindness are lovely. Going that one extra step to be nice to another human being, but I don't see them as being sustainable. When it comes to teaching Lily and Ollie kindness, I want it to be natural, instant, heartfelt.

So, kindness starts at home. It starts with me. With you. I'm often surprised by how much Lily copies me. As she plays more independently and engages in more pretend play I find that she comes out with phrases and actions that I recognise in myself. We're often told about how children are like sponges, we watch what we say in front of them to avoid them dropping the F-word in front of a stranger (thank goodness that hasn't happened to me yet). At the same time we should make a real effort to be kind in everything we do.

It's not easy. But it isn't as hard as I thought it would be either. Afterall, I certainly don't want to be unkind!

I thought about what I consider to be kind and realised that although I may not praise it enough, Lily is already helpful, considerate of others and generous. If she needs reminding about her behaviour I tell her to think about 'the rules' - Listen to Mummy and Daddy, do as she is told and be kind.

We also:
- Read our bible - God wants us to clothe ourselves, amongst other things, with kindness and there is plenty of advice there on how to go about it.
- Read other stories about kind people and acts of kindness.
- Point out and praise acts of kindness by others.
- Place emphasis good manners.
- Explaining when something is not kind, and why.

So, if I think we're already doing OK, what else can I be working on?

I looked up 'World Kindness Day' and spent some time looking at the suggestions on the 'Random Acts of Kindness Foundation' website. These were my faves and my plan is to do them with Lily, see if she can think of any others and then help her do them

- Think of someone. Now, send them a positive text message.
- Send a gratitude email to a coworker who deserves more recognition.
- Have a LinkedIn account? Write a recommendation for a coworker or connection.
- Compliment the next three people you talk to today.

What do you think? Any other suggestions?

Post Comment Love
Unknown said...

This is such a true post. I have always tried to teach Grace the art of kindness and I what I have found hardest is trying to balance that with making sure she doesn't get walked on either! It seems to be working so far. Thank you for linking to #PoCoLo x

Tubbs said...

Lovely post as kindness is an completely under-rated virtue. But, as Victoria rightly points out, the hardest thing is finding that balance between being kind and ensuring you're not treated badly.

Our Cherry Tree said...

That is such a good point - I don't want to end up with them being walked on or mistreated. Parenting is such a juggling act isn't it? x

Our Cherry Tree said...

You're right, I imagine that it'll be harder to balance the older she gets!
Thanks for stopping by. x

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