Kindness: How to Teach Children to Care - Heart 'n Home Hospice & Palliative Care, LLC

Kindness: How to Teach Children to Care

The motto of the 21st century is “Education.” People all over the world had come to the realization that education is one of the most important things we can give to our children. It expands their worldviews, develops logical and analytical thinking, helps understand the reality we live in better, provides the wide range of interests and hobbies. But can we name one single most important thing that we have to teach the younger generation? While you can imagine that it might be quite difficult to pinpoint this one point, but it is safe to say that in the modern age of cyber-bullying, international conflicts, refugee crisis and the rise of extreme opinions, it is very important to teach children empathy.

How to Be Kind
The obvious question to be asked: “Does kindness really have to be taught, or is it rather an inbred quality that is learned by following an example?” Well, it is certainly both and even more. We have to show an example, teach, practice, and explain it every day! In the modern digital anonymous era, it is essential to teach kids to see people as people, personalities, souls and not just a faceless statistics. Caring for others might seem like a simple task, but actually, that might be the hardest assignment you can get. Talking about assignments, if you need to write any kind of paper, check this cheap essay writing service. Coming back to empathy, along with the merging recognition that besides the regular intellectual abilities, one has to develop emotional intelligence as well.

What is emotional intelligence?
Raising children is not an easy undertaking, but if handled with care and consideration, it might bring so many changes not only to the particular family but to the whole world in general. Emotional intelligence is an essential tool to navigate our complicated lives. It is the ability to recognize and distinguish your own emotions and feelings, as well as ones of others; use this emotional information to regulate your behavior and thinking; learn to adapt to the different situations using your emotional reactions. This is the set of qualities that will allow children to understand themselves more, and thus, try and understand others. Being rather rear innovation, the teachings of the emotional intelligence and its development is actually implemented in some school systems.

Acts of Kindness
While it all looks good in theory, putting these statements in action might be tougher than you think. To raise a kind and caring person, you have to follow certain rules yourself. Here we can give some advice on how to improve the connection of your child with other people, as well as with their own inner world.

  1. “Put yourself into her/his shoes”- that is what you should say more often. To develop empathy we have to learn to put ourselves into somebody else’s position and imagine how we would feel in the particular situation. Encourage the children to do it more often.
  2. Promote friendliness. By all means, with your own example, with being kind to others, including your child.
  3. Be patient and kind yourself. It is a known fact that kids acting just like their parents do. We learn our first attitudes towards the world from our parents. So it is highly important to set an example and do good deeds in order to teach kindness.
  4. Encourage your child! Praise his/her tolerance, good manners, explain why something should be said or done. It is essential to explain things to children to reach the conscious understanding of empathy and kind behavior.

Practical Assignments
And, of course, we cannot finish our article without any practical implementations of above-mentioned principals. Games and interactive activities have proven to be the best ways to teach kids anything. So make it fun and colorful, while they are learning important life skills.

  • Do a Kindness Tree. A type of brainstorming activity that can start by asking the child “What others can say/do that would make you happy?” and “What can you do to cheer up a person?”. Paint or draw a tree with leaves of suggestions.
  • Promote surprise letters of gratitude. Make a habit of composing letters that would say some kind things and express appreciation to the various people – friends, family members, teachers, neighbors.
  • Involve kindness to animals. Do any fun and colorful activities with animals as main participants. Set up stories and paint them when animals help each other, as well as people helping and caring for animals.

Self-love is important. It is essential to encourage a healthy self-image and confidence. Try giving children a task of writing some positive things about themselves every once in a while and post these notes in the most unexpected, but visible places. Flowers and burst of colors on those papers will be highly appreciated!

Judy Nelson

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