The words: BE KIND.
They have been popping up all over the place lately!
Because our world has lost its kindness.
Every time you turn on the TV now, it is as though there is darkness everywhere!
But that is not true!
You and your child may very well be the light that this world needs!
All you need to do is continue to nurture and encourage kindness with your child.
If you would like to see a kinder, more loving world, then all you need to do is to simply role model kindness for your child.
And I am here to tell you how!
1. Be Kind Yourself!
Are you a kind person?
Or do you behave in ways that only satisfy you?
Now, now, now…
Before you get miffy and say, I’m not the problem, I’m outta here…!!
Hear me out!
To change the world, we have to be honest with ourselves first and foremost!
You don’t have to actually tell me whether or not you are a kind person or not.
Just answer it for yourself!
No one has to know your answer.
Just stop and think for a minute.
What have you willingly done lately that benefited others – not just yourself?
Have you been caring for your elderly parents?
Helped a neighbor?
Dropped what you were doing to support a friend?
Cold Hard Truth
The thing is, if you are not a kind person, your child may grow up to be an unkind person, as well.
Because they are looking at your behavior in order to learn how to behave in this world.
If you’re swearin’ and cussin’ up a storm because Aunt Millie called again and needs you to run to the grocery store for her, then your child is going to see your reaction to that and learn that helping others is just an annoying nuisance!
We all want to help Aunt Millie, right?
2. Improve Your Kindness Gage
Take a look at your kindness meter.
Are you kinda nice to other people?
Maybe you are not nice at all to others.
Perhaps you are super-dee-duper nice and go so out of your way to help others that you don’t have time to take good care of yourself!
Wherever you are at on your “kindness gage,” aim to make changes so that it is more balanced.
Too Green on the Gage
For instance, if you are over-the-top kind to others, learn to tone it down a bit so that there is room to care for yourself, too!
You don’t want to teach your child that all of their time and energy should be going towards others and that running themselves down to the ground is what is supposed to happen.
You probably want to show your child healthy ways to be kind so that care can be given to themselves, as well.
Kinda kind, but not really?
Then aim to be a little nicer to those around you!
Maybe choose one way each day to add to your kindness meter!
Perhaps you could offer to help a neighbor clean his gutters if you happen to see that he is up on the ladder cleaning them but starting to look tired.
Or maybe you could vow to just simply wave and say hi to one more neighbor that day!
Maybe you are aware that your cousin is getting chemo treatments, so you simply call and offer to give her a ride to them if she ever needs one.
Super simple, folks!
Just little things like that.
Now, it takes time to develop new habits, so be patient with yourself as you make these changes!
The important part is that you are making an effort to get that kindness gage just right so that your child will learn how to be nice to others without being overly nice or overly selfish.
3. Talk to Your Child About Being Kind
Next, have conversations with your child about being kind to others.
Ask them what it feels like when others are kind to them!
Or maybe talk about how it hurts when others are not nice.
There are some great books out there that can help support the conversations that you have this way with your child.
If you would like to read more about such books, you can click here.
Encourage your child to draw pictures or write stories about what kindness looks like to them.
Talk about these.
These are great opportunities to really get to know what your child is thinking and what they actually understand.
You can also curb any myths or misunderstandings that may come up.
The earlier you start talking to your child about this, the more time that you have to really teach the importance of being kind to others.
4. Be Kind Together!
Try to find opportunities where you and your child can engage in activities that reflect kindness together.
Volunteer at a soup kitchen!
Make cards together in order to cheer up family or friends who may be having a hard time.
Invite one of your child’s shy/unpopular classmates to the movies with you and your child.
There are so many little ways that you and your child can work together in order to make someone else feel good!
Also, help each other out at home.
Show your child that you are willing to put down your phone and sit and play with your child.
In turn, encourage your child to willingly drop the fun that he/she is having in order to help you get laundry put away.
5. Use Kind Words
When you talk, say nice things.
When others hear kind words, they will feel more enlightened to be kind themselves.
You also want your child to hear nice words, as well, so that they learn to talk just like you!
Provide supportive feedback.
Tell others that you love them!
Taking a Small Turn
I’m going to side-track here just a bit…
We all have our down days.
Sometimes, you need to let off some steam and usually what comes out isn’t all that terrific.
I get it.
I have those days, too.
But talk to your child about these moments and be honest about how, sometimes, we just need to vent.
We can’t always be saints and we have to remember that we are, indeed, human.
Your child should witness this, too, so that they are not burdened with feeling as though they always have to be positive patties!
It’s okay to get mad and to not talk kind for a bit, too.
We just have to watch that we do not hurt anyone’s feelings in the process.
If you want to read about some swear words that your child can learn to say when upset, click here!
6. Use Unkind Moments to Teach Kindness
Again, we all have our moments.
Sometimes we are not nice because we are having an off day or someone else’s unkindness towards us can harbor sour feelings.
Put your child in charge of teaching you kindness on days when you are acting unkind.
For example, my son is on top of The Ten Commandments that I have been teaching him and he reminds me of one of the commandments when I break it.
I tend to use swear words.
But every time I use a bad word, my son points it out to me.
I tell him that he is right and that I am sorry and that I will try to do better.
He gives me an X for every bad word that I use and then he has me sit in a time-out for 10 minutes when I get 5 Xs.
Infact, that’s what I am doing right now.
I actually used so many bad words over the weekend that he has put me in a time-out here for a full 60 minutes!
I figured I would use this time to write about this piece of my article here.
Having my child hold me accountable just as much as I would hold him responsible helps us both to stay on top of being kind and being better people!
You can give this type of responsibility over to your child and see how it goes!
It can be a real eye-opener for both of you!
Unkind Moments from Others Can Teach as Well!
When someone is unkind to you or your child, you can talk about how that makes you feel.
You can talk about all of the reasons why that person may have been unkind.
Maybe they were having a bad day or just not feeling well.
Perhaps someone else had been unkind to them.
This can be refreshing and help to take away some of the sting from being a target of unkindness.
You can also talk about how you can use this experience as a way of learning what not to do and how not to be towards others because it may hurt their feelings too.
For example, if someone just called your child stupid, you could talk about how we do not say that word because we can see how that word hurts others.
You could also talk about all of the possible reasons that person may have said that to your child.
Perhaps that person didn’t sleep well and was over tired or had just gotten yelled at by someone and felt angry on the inside.
Draw pictures about the situation and about how to make things better.
Talk about trying to show kindness to that person or choosing to stay away from that person for the time being until that person comes around to be nicer.
There are so many options that can be had instead of expressing and harboring anger yourselves over the situation.
We just have to take a deeper look on a more compassionate level.
Kindness Always Wins!
Even though there are times when it seems like being kind has not brought about the goodness that you had hoped to find in others, just know this:
By being kind, you are planting a seed towards kindness!
You may not see it now, but 20 years from now, when people think back about you, they will remember how good you were to them and how others couldn’t even compare!
When you teach this to your child as a way of life, you begin to change the world!
It’s far more powerful than you will ever come to realize!
It’s just a matter of getting ourselves to that place where we can adopt kindness as a policy instead of just a “when-I-feel-like-it” thing.
You have all of the power in the world by simply teaching your child this basic life-loving concept!
Go forth, my dear friends and make kindness a remarkable foothold in this world!
Mama Morgan is a single parent by day and a writer by night! She is raising two, young children with special needs during a global pandemic. She aims to give other parents confidence, hope, and a practical, down-to-earth reading adventure through her own experiences. While Morgan is heavily focused on caring for her little ones, she is also dedicated to helping others and making the world a better place. Mama’s Grilled Cheese is just her delicacy!