Teaching kindness is not difficult, in fact, it can be quite simple. All you need to do is model kindness and praise your child when they are kind. Simple everyday moments present the opportunity to be kind. It will just take some work on your part to verbally acknowledge the behavior when you see it.
Kindness is a smile hello to a neighbor, saying thank you and please, holding the door open for a stranger, sharing with a friend.
I am always out with my son alone, and I hardly have anyone offer to help me at the store. When, by chance, a stranger holds open the door to the milk fridge, so I can reach my son’s milk, (while all 28lbs of him are attached to me in our carrier) I make sure to be very VERY thankful. The other day, this actually happened and I looked the man in the eye and said “no one ever does that for me, thank you so very much.” He seemed shocked that I even made a point to verbally thank him. It was a moment that took a few seconds of his time, but it made all the difference to me. He was kind to a stranger, and he deserved to be thanked. I can only hope that one day my son will be kind to a stranger.
During a play date, my son’s friend shared his snack and even fed some to my son. It was the sweetest moment. I made sure to tell the 2yr old what a good friend he was to share his special snack with my little guy! I can only hope that one day my son will share his food with others.
When I had a terrible 2-week period dealing with my son’s night terrors occurring every evening, one of my special mom friends sent me cookies and brownies! They arrived fresh at my door one evening right after I put my son to bed. It was such a thoughtful thing for her to do, especially because she too had been struggling that week with sleep issues and the sudden loss of her brother-in-law. Yet she took time to think of me and send me a special pick me up. I can only hope that one day my son will be so thoughtful to a friend in need.
These moments remind me that being kind makes someone feel special, loved and supported. Spread kindness. Find it in the little things, and teach kindness to your little ones. It is a beautiful cycle that deserves to be continued, not just at this time of year, but throughout the whole year.