This is the number one question I keep asking myself – Are we raising kind kids?
I know that kindness is teachable, and that it all starts in your own home. But, I also know that you cannot teach your kids kindness if you are not leading by example.
Vasilije often asks me, “Was that kind of me?” when he does something for me, or helps his brother and sister. And, I always make sure to tell him that he is.
We were at the store the other day, and I let someone go ahead of us to checkout as they had fewer items than us and Vasilije asked me why I did that. I explained that they only had a few items to buy and we had a full cart, so it would be nice to let them go first and not have to wait on us. And he replied, “Oh that was so kind of you, mommy.”
I know they talk about kindness in his preschool class a lot, as he always come home with something and I really like that.
We try to teach them everything, but sometimes they end up teaching us and I love when that happens too.
Vasilije has a shirt that has the following quote, “World is filled with a lot of nice people, if you can’t find one, be one”. And I love this so much! I think it speaks well for kids, and adults.
And, because Vasilije turns FIVE this week I thought we’d share FIVE different ways we practice kindness in our household:
One. Say “hello” to your neighbor, someone you see at the park, or a grocery store.
We greet our neighbors when we see them and people we walk passed on our morning walks. Smile at everyone. It’s contagious. You’ll make someone’s day that much better.
Two. Hold the door for someone.
The boys love holding doors for others, and of course mommy too. Whenever we go somewhere they always rush to open the door for me and everyone around notices it and always says how nice of them, and how big help to mom they are. They love hearing that.
Three. Saying Thank You.
We worked on this one a lot. Saying thank you to someone goes a long way. Although they may not always understand when to say Thank You, and Vasilije has asked me why we say Thank You. He understood why after I gave him some examples, and said that when someone gives you something or does something for you but they didn’t have to, you need to say Thank You. That makes you a kind person. Saying Thank You when you get a sticker at the grocery store, or when your teacher helps you tie your shoe, or when someone says something nice to you, etc.
FOUR. Help Clean up, without being asked.
This is another thing we practice. We have our clean up days, but I also like to teach them that when they’re done playing with the puzzles, for example that they should put them away before bringing something else out. This goes along with, especially when we are at the library. The same rules apply at home and library. So the fact that they will do it without being asked is amazing, and I always tell them Thank You for doing it. Vasilije always makes it a point to tell me, Was that kind of me to do?
Kindness is Magic
Personally, I think that you cannot go wrong in raising your kids to be nice and kind to others. Teaching them ultimately to be respectful, to have gratitude and to be nice takes time and patience. I don’t believe that kids are born good or bad, but I believe it’s how you raise them, the morals you teach them and how you lead by example. They see everything you do and they do it too. So, if you want to teach your kids to be nice to others then show them how. Simply, saying “be nice” doesn’t cut it and you know it.
In today’s world, where we lack kindness it’s so important that we show our kids that kindness is cool. That kindness is good. Instead of ignoring it and letting them learn on their own. Teach them, as kids love to learn. I never want my kids to disrespect anyone, or be rude, or not know how to say Thank You, or even worse become a bully. But, at the same time I never want to see my kids get taken advantage of. There is a fine line of being nice and being taken advantage of. Me personally, I know where to draw the line. But, me as a parent trying to teach my kids, I don’t know. I don’t know how to teach them the fine line. But, I can promise you that I am learning everyday and every day I promise myself to do better for them.
We will teach our kids to read, and write but often forget about other learning and development that they need. One being social emotional learning. On a side note, one thing I really loved about Vasilije’s Kindergarten school from the orientation the other day, is that they are student centered and their top priority, besides academics is social emotional learning. Personally, I think this is so important. Emotional intelligence doesn’t come naturally to our kids as does reading and writing. So we have to teach them, and am so happy the school focus on this. Ps this is my oldest and this is my first time experience with Kindergarten school/teachers.