Do you aspire to have nice children? It may be even more important to raise kind children. Children who are nice know that they should say “thank you” at the right moments, and they try to treat others well. Kind children possess something more: They’re considerate, generous and concerned enough to try to improve the lives of others, without expecting anything in return.
When your child is kind, they may be viewed more positively by their friends, relatives, teachers, coaches and classmates. Their words or actions may have a lasting positive impact on the people whom they’re trying to help. Additionally, your child’s acts of kindness may have enduring positive benefits on their own mental and physical health. Kind children may experience:
- Increased happiness levels
- A greater sense of purpose in life
- A more developed sense of empathy
- Feeling more connected to others
- Lowered stress levels
- Decreased risk of depression
- A boost to the immune system
- Lowered blood-pressure levels
How Parents Can Raise Kind Children
Kindness is better demonstrated than taught. One of the most effective ways your child can learn about kindness is by following your example. Kids take mental notes when observing their parents, including your attitude about helping others and the way you relate to friends, relatives and strangers. When you consistently display kindness in your interactions with people, it can inspire your child to practice kindness, as well. If you demonstrate how easy it is to incorporate kindness into your life, it might become second-nature to your child.
When your child is young and you’re performing acts of kindness, it helps if you explain aloud what you’re doing and why. Suggest that you perform kind acts together, such as writing a thank-you note to a friend, picking up litter or noticing when a child on the playground seems lonely and could use a playmate. As your child gets older, they might come up with their own ideas to perform acts of kindness, which they may do on their own or with you.
Remind your child they might not get thanked for what they do, but kindness feels good, so they should want to continue.
Ways That Children Can Practice Kindness
There are a number of ways that children can be kind in their everyday lives. If you’re looking for ideas to get your child started, suggest they try any or all of the following:
- Draw a nice picture for a friend or relative who has had a rough day.
- Compliment people when they display qualities that you admire.
- Get to know the new kid at school, so that they feel more connected to someone.
- Hold doors open for people.
- Volunteer at a food pantry, animal shelter or local service organization.
- Pick up trash on your favorite hiking trail or in your neighborhood.
- Send a heartfelt thank-you note to someone who did something kind.
- Put a quarter in a stranger’s parking meter.
Share how you and your family showed kindness this month by using #OnOurSleeves on social media.