Emotional intelligence does not come naturally to children. It is similar to reading and writing and so has to be taught and inculcated in children. Kindness like any other behaviour, can be learned. For parents as well as teachers, one of the most important goals is to raise children who are kind and empathetic. It is the responsibility of parents and teachers to teach children that we rise by lifting others. No act of kindness is ever wasted.
Here are 5 ways you can teach kindness to a child:
1. Practice what you preach
Don’t just teach kindness to the child. Practice what you preach and be a role model. Children observe and notice everything. So if you are nice and empathetic to someone in everyday life, your child will take that from you. Children often imitate their parents. If parents speak kindly of other people, the children too will pick it up from parents and imitate the same.
2. Teach joy of giving
The joy that comes from giving something that you don’t need to someone who is in genuine need of the same is unparalleled. Ask your child to pick some toys they no longer use and ask them to give it to the house help’s child. Set up opportunities where the child can spread joy by giving. Teach your child that a small act of kindness can go a long way and make a lot of difference in someone’s life.
3. Do not accept rudeness
If you allow your child to talk rudely to you, they will assume that they can talk rudely to anybody. Teach your child to talk to adults, youngsters as well peers with love and respect. How children talk to others from a young age determines how they will talk to others in the future.
4. Play ‘guess the feeling’
Children can be taught kindness and how to be empathetic by assessing someone else’s emotions. A good way to do so is by playing ‘guess the feeling’ game. This game means people watching. Parents along with their children are supposed to look at people and try guessing what the person is feeling. Then children are supposed to make up a story about why the person is feeling the emotion. This also leads to building creative imagination.
5. Share kindness stories
Pick books and stories where there is an element of kindness present. If children hear about their favorite characters in a book practicing kindness, they too will try implementing the same. This will sow the seeds of kindness from a very young age.
“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves.” -Amelia Earhart
At ‘Shanti Juniors’ we encourage children to be kind always, whenever and wherever possible. After all, kindness is contagious.