Children are not born simply good or bad and we should never give up on them. They need adults who will help them become caring, respectful, and responsible for their communities at every stage of their childhood.
What can parents do?
Reflect on what you model your child and what you say to them. More often than not we are praising our children more for their achievements than for being kind to others. In addition, we also must teach our children that there is a balance between themselves and others. Examples of this can be passing a ball to a teammate or standing up. Parents often ask, “Did my child do a good job?” try replacing this with asking, “Is my child a good team member? ”
Create opportunities for children to practice caring and gratitude.
Learning to be caring requires repetition and daily practice, just like any other skill. Studies show that people who are in the habit of expressing gratitude are more likely to be helpful, generous, compassionate, and forgiving.
Introduce your child to different layers of concern. Our children will often think of friends and family first. In order to help them be kind and caring community members we need to help them look beyond friends and family. Bring their attention to the school custodian, waitress, or a bus driver.
Help them to see how all members of the community are important and to show gratitude to their contribution to society.
Draw a rainbow in any way you prefer, whether from colored scraps, a painted image, or just markers - leaving enough space to write on each 'color'. Together with your child, discuss different examples and acts of kindness and write on, or within, each ray of the rainbow. You can complete in one sitting, or add on every time you remember an act of kindness!
E.L.O. CARDS THAT RELATE TO KINDNESS:
Our whole deck is designed to raise a kind AND empathetic child, however very specific cards in relation to kindness include: