Have you ever pulled up to the drive-thru window at Starbucks — ready to pay — only to have the barista tell you that the person before you has already paid for your drink? A complete stranger made a conscious decision to be kind to others, and you were lucky enough to be directly affected!
Whether it's from friends, family or strangers in the Starbucks drive-thru, we all appreciate being shown kindness. But how often do go out of our way to be kind to others without it being a chore? Furthermore, how often do we put the effort into teaching our children what it means to be kind?
To teach kindness, we can start by incorporating kindness it into our daily lives. A good first step is to hold the door open for the person entering into a building behind you. It's a simple task, but — believe it or not — holding the door open for the person following behind is not something everyone does. Too often, we're in such a huge rush to get to where we're going, that we forget about those who aren't in our immediate field of vision. By holding the door for someone, we are (without verbally saying so) acknowledging the other person's presence, and showing our children what it means to be kind.
3 parenting tips to encourage kindness from yourself, your children, and within your home.
1. Make it a family affair.
If a friend of yours is ill or has experienced a loss, involve your family in putting together a care package. You can ask your children and partner to help bake a dish, make a card, or arrange a bouquet of flowers, and then invite them to join you in delivering the item(s). By involving them in this, you're building your relationship with them as a family and teaching them what it means to be kind.
2. Make a donation.
It can be collecting canned goods and donating them to a food pantry, or donating your time (volunteering) to cleaning up a neighborhood. Kindness is giving without accepting anything in return, and donating is the epitome of that.
3. Get creative.
Gather some markers, paper, stickers, and any other items you and your kids would enjoy using, and put together Thank You cards for each other. This will encourage kindness, and you'll be teaching them how to say "thank you" through time and effort, a manner demonstrates sincerity and thoughtfulness.