Parenting tips on teaching your children how to value kindness and caring
1. Show concern for others!
How? Our children pay attention to everything we say and do – our conversations, interactions, and attitudes. If you care about others, show it. Don’t turn your back on what you see on the streets or in the world hoping that someone else will take action. Set the example for your children and let them follow.
- Don’t just tell them about the world, ask them what they see in the world, what they think and how they would take action. Start simply.
- When you bump into someone, say you’re sorry.
- Teach children to always address others with respect, regardless of the circumstances.
2. Give your children a bigger picture of the world
How? It is a big world, yet we grow up and associate with a pretty small circle. Not everyone can adopt a child from another culture or take in an exchange student, but you can expand your child’s circle by encouraging them to reach out to someone with whom they don’t always connect.
- Do it yourself! Have someone over for dinner that is not in your normal circle of friends.
- Encourage them to side with the child being picked on or find opportunities to befriend the one who is less popular.
3. Express thanks
How? It sounds so easy, yet we often assume people know we appreciate them and are thankful for them. We must make the effort and take the time to ensure they know how much they mean to us.
- Encourage your children to do something for someone just because.
- Tell your children thank you and expect them to do the same to you and others.
- Have them write thank you notes.
- Ask them to tell you each day something for which they are grateful.
4. Serve others
How? The world doesn’t revolve around your child. It never will. So having them serve others teaches a valuable lesson. It is easy to do in your own home by having them do chores, clean the dishes, and pick up the yard…without pay.
- Demonstrate it at meal times by serving them food and drinks and have them use please and thank you. Your response needs to be you’re welcome. Then, once you have modeled, ask them kindly, to get you something to drink or to pass the food. Model the behavior you want and then expect the same.
- Talk to your children about when you and they see people serving others. Talk about how that positively impacted the person being served.
- Ask your child what opportunities they have to serve others. What can they give or give up for someone? It doesn’t have to be money; it might simply be their time or their friendship or a kind word.
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