Every parent hopes to send their child out into the world with the skills and knowledge to be a successful, well-adjusted individual. To achieve this, that individual must be taught compassion and cooperation.
The best time to learn these skills is during childhood when children are naturally driven to seek approval from their parents and eager to please them. Their desire to participate in activities alongside adults offers the perfect opportunity to teach the right way to interact with people.
Instilling the meaning of kindness to a child by example shows them how to consider the feelings of others alongside their own. They learn to empathise with their peers at a very early age and establish personal morals that will stay with them through to adulthood.
Parents can impart kindness to their children and promote teamwork by encouraging them to participate in community activities, by creating a team-oriented environment, and by having an optimistic outlook that leads through example.
Get Them Involved
Any parent who’s ever bought a toy vacuum or kitchen play set knows that children love to help out with activities around the house. They often mimic the behaviour that they see around them and seek validation by participating in group activities.
Take advantage of this accommodating tendency by getting them involved in helpful ways. Even at a young age, there are plenty of opportunities to include children in sports or social activities, school functions, and community events.
Community centres and ministries often host things like picnics and winter carnivals where kids can help adults with selling snacks, setting up decorations, or passing out tickets. This kind of involvement teaches the power of collective cooperation and the child experiences the reward and validation of being part of the group.
Donation drives for clothing, toys, or food are an ideal way to teach empathy to a child. Explain to them the benefit that their donations will bring to other less fortunate kids. Help them sort through old clothing and toys they don’t use for things that others might need or enjoy. A child’s generosity comes naturally, it just needs to be encouraged and maintained as they grow up.
Participating in mentoring through school can also be an excellent way to teach children the concepts of kindness and teamwork. Whether the child is the mentor or mentored, these types of programs teach positive methods of conflict resolution and cooperation.
Some children will grow up to be leaders and others will be followers; both have value to society. Mentorships offer a way to discover one’s own leadership qualities and learn social skills that will be necessary later in life.
Lead by Example
Surprisingly, environmental imagery has a big impact on whether children exhibit kind or helpful traits toward others. A 2009 study of a group of eighteen-month olds showed how images of togetherness or cooperation actually influenced a child’s likelihood of helping another person.
Reinforce the idea of togetherness by hanging pictures of family holidays around the house or posters of favorite cartoon characters interacting together. That positive imagery helps subconsciously emphasize kindness and teamwork.
Parents are the best example that children have when it comes to learning social cues and expectations. In addition to telling them how to be compassionate and give to others, leading by example puts action behind those words.
Volunteering for school associations, helping a neighbor in need, or any other random act of kindness teaches kids to identify situations where assistance should be offered. It also shows give them an example of how to treat the people they interact with.
Childhood is typically a very self-centric time and the transition to a wider view of the world occurs toward the end of adolescence. Surrounding children with examples of consideration and empathy teaches them how to focus on the needs of others as they grow up. Showing a child how to exhibit kindness is far more valuable than just telling them to be a kind person.
Have an Optimistic Outlook and Teach Positivity
Most children have adults in their lives that they idolise and parents are typically in that group. A child needs to maintain quality relationships with their mentors that encourage optimism and take the focus off negativity.
For example, when a child complains that a classmate was rude to them, redirect their reaction toward sympathy or consideration. Teach them how to respond with kindness and patience rather than being insulted.
Setting basic ground rules within the home about how everyone should be treated teaches thoughtfulness and respect. If those rules are continually enforced at times of peace and conflict, children have the opportunity to learn how be civil to someone they disagree with. As modern technology demands more time interacting with a screen, online communication is becoming divisive. People generally feel more isolated.
Children need to be shown that teamwork doesn’t just involve working together for a single goal that everyone wants to reach. It can also mean a group of people that disagree working together to compromise and find a neutral solution.
Involve children in activities that teach the value of hard work, like household chores or neighborhood volunteering. Show them the satisfaction of accountability by reminding and enabling them to reach their personal goals. Plan a family activity like a repainting the house so that all family members help complete a task that everyone will enjoy. Organize a garage sale where each person contributes to the planning, helps with the sale, and shares in the financial reward.
Having a kind-hearted nature and a willingness to work with others are traits possessed by successful people. Parents can set their kids on the right track by guiding their outlook in a positive direction and teaching responsible social behaviour through action and example. Doing so establishes a foundation of altruism, sympathy, and appreciation for every individual.
Young adults enter the world knowing to resolve conflict in a rational, respectful, and productive way. They understand the value of solid relationships and social bonds and they appreciate the merit of individuality as well as collective effort.