Now more than ever we need to practice kindness and compassion towards ourselves and others. Children are born with a gentle nature and as they develop they learn what it means to be kind. As a parent, there are lots of ways that you can nurture your child’s gentle spirit and support their development into a kind-hearted adult. To help you through this process, we’ve put together some tips on raising children to learn how to be kind and why it’s so important to be so.
Tips to encourage kindness at any age.
Your child might comfort a crying friend, even though they wouldn’t understand why their friend was upset. Toddlers remember what comforts them when they’re feeling sad and will try to do the same for their friend.
Be a role model
As their safe guiding hand through the world, children learn how to behave from their parents. Treat those around you with kindness and take the time to explain to your little one why you behave the way you do and the impact it has on others. Children are constantly absorbing and mimicking everything you do, so modelling politeness and empathy is essential for raising your kids to be kind adults.
At this age, children are more aware of others. They still can’t relate to their friends and they might even knock over another child’s toys for fun. Parents can explain to their 3 year olds that their actions have upset their friend, but at this age their understanding will be very limited.
To encourage your little one to be more considerate of others, try playing the ‘compliment game’. The aim of the game is to think of something nice to say to different people that show what you like most about them. This may be a little more difficult while we’re all social distancing so we recommend playing as a family and using toys to represent your child’s friends. For example, line up a Rag doll toy, a super soft bear, a knitted dinosaur or whatever toys your little one loves most. Ask your child to pay them each a compliment as if they were another child and use that toy to compliment your child in return. This will teach your toddler how nice it feels to receive compliments, which in turn will encourage them to say such sweet things to their friends to make them feel happy when they see each other again.
When they reach the age of 4 years old, your little one can recognise when they’ve upset someone and begin to understand how. Sometimes, 4 year olds can apologise without being prompted and can be especially empathetic when their friends hurt themselves.
Sharing is caring
Just like when they learn colours or numbers, a good way to teach children to be kind is through their play. Sharing is a key skill that helps children to develop friendships but it isn’t always an easy concept for children to learn. When you next sit down to play with your little one, take turns playing with the same toy and explain to your child why you’re doing it. Try holding a pretend tea party with our toy tea set or ask your little one to give you a makeover with our toy vanity case.
By this time, your child is able to share more easily and take turns. They understand what kindness is, why it’s important and they are able to think of ways to help and support others.
Teamwork makes the dream work
Now that your child is able to be considerate, you can help them to develop further by introducing chores for them to do. Start by explaining what you’d like them to do, when they should do it and why. Emphasise how they will be helping you as part of the family, working together as a team to keep your home nice and tidy. Start with something simple and ask them to tidy up their toys after playtime. To make it more fun, pick up one of our personalised cute character storage bags, whether your little one is a cuddly bear or a busy bunny. Your child can also store everything away in one of our personalised toy boxes, available in traditional designs and fun prints they’ll love.
As we continue to live in social isolation, being kind is increasingly important to our everyday happiness. In this strange and uncertain world, there are still small ways we can practice kindness towards others; however remember that as a parent you don’t have to be perfect all the time. The most important thing at the moment is that you take good care of yourself and your family.
My 1st Years x