You know that phrase people say when something is all too easy? They say, “It’s like stealing candy from a baby.” Whoever coined that phrase obviously never actually tried to take something from a baby. Have you ever tried taking candy from a child? How about their bottle or binky? How about a toy or stuffed animal? Not so easy after all…
We all know that children can be extremely possessive of their things. I’ve started to notice my one-year old daughter becoming more and more protective over her belongings. It’s gotten me thinking and asking myself, “How can I make sure my daughter grows up to share? How can I be sure that I do my part to help her become kind and sweet?”
Although kindness is a choice and something you cultivate all your life, there are definitely things we can do as parents to help our children choose kindness from an early age. Here are a few tips!
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- Praise your child often: Praise, praise, praise your child whenever they share something or are kind to another person! Consistently praising our kids for kind behavior helps reinforce their desire to be good to others.
- Practice sharing: I’m currently working on teaching my child to share. One thing we do to help her learn to share is to practice! We will sit on the floor and choose a toy to play with in front of her. Then I give her a turn! I’ll emphasize “How nice, Mommy shared with you!” I ask for the toy back and when/if she hands it back, I praise her for sharing with me! Practicing this on a regular basis can help your child get in the sharing mindset and help them to learn that sharing doesn’t mean you have to part with a favorite toy forever—they learn that it’s just someone else’s turn and they’ll get it back in a few minutes.
- Teach good manners: Teach your child to say please and thank you and to always be polite. We can teach our kids about please and thank you before they can even say the words. If your child is old enough to understand but not old enough to talk, you can start by saying the words yourself. “Say please.” Then hand them their toy or food and follow it up by saying, “Thank you!” It’s also important to remember that children are the best imitators around. They will often emulate the behavior they see in you. So remember to be kind to all around you, (including your own kids and spouse). Teaching through your own everyday example is one of the most powerful methods of all.
- Have daily conversations about kindess: Recently I gave my daughter a “Cuddle+Kind doll.” I got her the Chloe bunny because let’s face it, it is the cutest bunny I have ever seen! These dolls are the softest and sweetest around but even better is the fact that the company feeds 10 hungry children with every doll that is purchased. As my daughter grows up playing with this doll we can have conversations about what her doll represents and remind her of the importance of being kind and helping others. (You can check out Cuddle+Kind dolls here.) They have a goal to feed 1 million children in need in one year.
- Daily Acts of Kindness! Each day ask your child to tell you about something kind they did for someone. Knowing that you will ask them this question will help them to actively think about helping others throughout their day. If they can’t think of something, help them to think of what they can do before the day is over or even start thinking about what they can do tomorrow to help reach out to someone in need!
How do you teach your child about being kind? Share in the comments below!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of cuddle+kind. The opinions and text are all mine.