3 Steps to Teaching Kids the Art of Kindness

Teaching Kids Kindness

suzanne-windSuzanne Wind
Award-winning Author | Mom
Visit Suzanne’s website, Facebook, or Twitter

“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain

Holding a door open. Giving up your seat for someone. Offering someone a helping hand. Is it human nature, or do we have to teach our children to be kind?

February 17 is National Random Acts of Kindness Day, but do we really need a designated day to instill kindness?

Instead, let’s make being kind part of every day. Follow these simple steps to encourage our children to master the incredibly important skill of kindness:

1. Teach them the true meaning of kindness. The word kindness is defined as the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate. Discuss and role-play with your children what it means to be friendly, to be generous, and to be considerate. Find teachable moments. For example, maybe it is teaching your child to share a cookie with a sibling that dropped his cookie on a dirty floor. Or perhaps it is helping mom clean the house before you have guests. The idea is to teach your children that every kind gesture is thoughtful and meaningful.

2. Model Kindness. They say that kindness leads, to more kindness. As parents, model kindness and respect so our children will follow suit. For example, if we use our smile a lot, chances are our children will learn to smile more often. If we offer lending hands, our children will be more likely to be helpful to others. The possibliites are endless.

3. Practice Kindness. The more you practice this skill as a family, the more your children will master the art of kindness. Encourage your children to practice random acts of kindness that might seem small but can mean so much. Here are just a few suggestions:

  • Give a nice compliment.
  • Say “Hello” to someone new.
  • Clean up after someone else.
  • Send a thank you note to someone special.
  • Help someone before they ask you.
  • Push in someone’s chair.
  • Make a card for a great teacher.
  • Let someone go before you in line.
  • Sit by someone new at lunch.

Aesop said it best, “No act of kindness, no matter how small is ever wasted.” Today I encourage you all to print out our Act of Kindness Challenge – fun simple steps to practice the art of kindness. Good luck!

This post was originally posted on the now-defunct Mom’s Choice Matters blog in 2015.

suzanne-windAbout Suzanne Wind

Suzanne Wind is the award-winning author of The SMART Playbook. She is a mom with a mission! Her passion is to empower parents to teach the next generation social skills that fit a modern world and are the key to their future success.

Before kids, she was an international marketing executive in New York City. Suzanne has a multi-cultural background, having been raised in six countries and being introduced to four languages.

Suzanne credits her career and living overseas taught her the importance of using your best social skills, whatever the environment. Although customs may change from country to country, manners is a universal language.

She lives in Connecticut with her husband and three children.

Learn more about Suzanne and The SMART Playbook by visiting www.thesmartplaybook.com. Join Suzanne on Facebook and/or Twitter.

View all posts by Suzanne Wind here.


21 Comments on “3 Steps to Teaching Kids the Art of Kindness”

  1. This is great content to read, and everything you said should be practiced to raise kind, loving, and god-fearing children. I enjoy reading content that promotes me to be a better person. Thank you for this!

  2. I agree that parents are the best example when teaching kids. I can always improve and these were great reminders!

    1. Yes, this is something that we all need constant reminders of. We’re always working to improve. And some days, it’s just so easy to let our frustrations get the better of us.

  3. I agree 100% it all starts at home with the parents by setting good examples and kids pick up on things quicker than we realize so be a good role model so your child can be one to

  4. I’ve always started off with teaching kids ‘”please”, “thank you”, and sharing as young as possible. Whether it be my kids or my nieces and nephews. Just those 3 simple things make a huge difference in learning kindness.

  5. Yes, I agree with this article, especially in today`s society when so little values seem to be shown. Teaching our children kindness, manners, and installing in them the value of helping others….is an invaluable lesson that will help them throughout their lives and touching the lives of others. What better way to make this world a better place!

    1. You’re very right about how kindness can make the world a better place, Melissa. It really is that simple sometimes isn’t it? We just need to empathize with each other and show kindness.

  6. Loved this article because being kind is a huge deal to me and I strive to be a great example for my kids. A smile and/or a nice comment can really make someones day. Kindness is contagious and we could all use more positive vibes in our lives!

    1. Your comment is spot on, Erin! Kindness IS contagious. Totally agree that we should focus on spreading positive vibes!

  7. I think kindness is one of the most important things we can teach our kids. I’ve taught mine to say please and thank you, hold the door for people and talk to the classmate who sits alone. We started a holiday tradition of buying for foster kids off our local angel tree. It warmed my heart to see how excited they got!

    1. Melissa, that is so sweet! It must be wonderful to see your children get so excited about buying gifts for people in need. Teaching them to talk to the classmate who sits alone is so great — that brought a big smile to our faces today! Thank you!

  8. I have tried very hard to install kindness and manners in my children. Now my 12 year old son, holds the door for people, helps gramma with her suitcase when she comes to visit, answers my requests with yes mom all without me saying a word. I’m still working on my daughter….:) I do think its very important that kids see how they should act. Setting a good example goes a very long way.

    1. Sounds like you’re doing a great job! We totally agree that setting the right example is so important. It’s hard to overstate that!

  9. Great article and so important! Children learn from their parents actions…being kind is a beautiful thing!

    1. That’s so true, Patricia! The way we ACT as parents does not go unnoticed. It’s so important for us to be good role models for our children. Whether we know it or not, they are paying attention. Glad you like the article and thanks for the comment!

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