There are infinite ways to show and spread kindness, which makes it something you can easily teach your child. The old adage of doing unto others as you’d like done to you is a good place to start. There are small acts of kindness, like smiling and saying “please” and “thank you” — as well as grander gestures, like buying someone’s groceries or taking care of a sick friend.
Knowing when to show kindness requires learning social cues. Ask your child to observe and interpret non-verbal expressions of emotion (joy and sadness on someone’s face, for example). When your child is ready to show kindness, they can start by paying someone a compliment, lending a helping hand, or doing a chore around the house without being asked!
Learning about kindness also means processing negative emotions. Start by being a model of positivity and self-respect for your child. Compassion goes both ways, and it is as important to show ourselves care as it is others.
Your child is likely to mimic what goes on in the household, so assess any teasing that occurs between siblings and whether it is demeaning. If you witness your child saying hurtful things, address why those comments are destructive. Explain to your child what bullying is, then provide strategies for what to do if they ever feel bullied.
When you need relatable examples of kindness to show your child, you can turn to reading.
For its 100th anniversary, Scholastic spoke with experts to identify a set of tips, articles, and books that make starting a conversation with your child about kindness easier. These resources are part of a broader initiative, called the Scholastic Bookshelf, created for Instagram to raise awareness around contemporary issues affecting children today.
Just like reading and writing, practicing kindness and empathy are skills that must be taught. The following Scholastic resources will show your child how kindness is infectious and can brighten someone’s day.