Parents and teachers love to encourage kids to be kind. It’s a movement, really, and that is fantastic. But while we are saying “kindness counts,” are we always setting the best example of that with our kids? For instance, if we are more interested in our phones than our kids, we are not really showing them that they matter. We have a few ideas—eleven exactly—of ways to show kindness to your children. No, you don’t have to shower them with accolades all day. But these small acts of kindness just might set the stage for the kind people you want them to become.
Stoop to their level. When your child is talking to you, try bending down so the two of you can see eye to eye. It shows your child that you are truly listening which makes her feel like she matters.
Mind your P’s and Q’s. If we expect our children to ask for things with a “please” and respond with “thank you,” then we should do the same. “Could you please feed the dog?” rather than, “Feed the dog!!”
Put down your phone. A Johns Creek mom shares that, after she picks up her son from school, she locks her phone in her car for two hours. That way, she can give her son her undivided attention.
Compliment their character. We might not even realize how often we say to our kids, “You are so cute” and “You look so good in that outfit.” While those compliments are fine, we should find ways to compliment who they are and what they do, rather than how they look. The blog imom offers ideas of how to do that with phrases like, “I appreciate the way you treat people” and “Your willingness to help makes me happy.”
Lower your voice. When our kids push our buttons, sometimes our first instinct is to yell. Try our alternatives to yelling to get a better outcome.
Catch them in the act. If you see your child holding the door open for someone, making an effort to include a friend or picking up his toys without being asked, notice and say something. “I see that you and your brother have been playing nicely for 22 minutes. That is awesome. Keep it up!”
Take an interest. A Roswell mom says her son always wants to show her his LEGO creations, and explain them in great detail. She knows this is important to him so she sits on the floor, listens and makes comments, even though LEGOs are not her favorite past time.
Display their artwork. When we feature our children’s masterpieces in a prominent place, it shows them that we think what they do is important. Try our tips for easy ways to show off your kids’ drawings.
Let them choose. Planning a family trip? Or just the grocery list? Show kindness to your children by letting them be part of the decision making, even if it is just minor things. “Where do you think we should stop for lunch on our drive?”
Empathize. Sure, it’s easy to be kind when our kids are acting angelic. But what about when they have truly been naughty? Instead of laying down the consequence right away, try empathizing first. “I understand that sometimes you feel like your little brother is in the way” or “I get how you felt frustrated by that.”
Don’t cry over spilled milk. Accidents happen. Kids spill things, drop things, even break things. Instead of going into freak-out mode, try a kinder response. “That’s okay. Accidents happen. No big deal.” And then of course, hand them the tools to clean it up.