Kids and Kindness

Posted Dec 21, 2017

‘Tis the Season of Giving. This time of year conjures images of colorful packages and big shiny bows filled with garments and gadgets. Soon, we will be trading our shopping lists for lists of New Year’s Resolutions. But before we plunge into the New Year, we should consider asking did we give children what they really want and need this year? What can we do differently next year?

Surveys suggest children’s concerns go beyond their own day-to-day activities. In fact, the most recent State of the Kid survey indicates children want a kinder, gentler world.  More than 2000 American children, ages 6 – 12, took the annual Highlights survey. Asked what they would change about the world, the majority would “increase kindness, respect, and honesty”, “end crime and violence” and offer “help to those in need.”

While kindness is a priority for kids, manychildren don’t believe it is a priority for the adults in their lives. Only 23% thought it was important to their parents that they were kind. Many children thought it was more important to parents that they do well in school than be kind. In Harvard University survey, 80% of children thought their parents valued school success over kindness and caring. Many children had witnessed their parents being unkind to others. While over 90% had negative feelings about their parent’s actions, 6 % reported being “entertained” by it.

Despite children's impressions, most parents claim that raising kind, caring children is important to them.  So how can we get that message to kids and what can we do to help create that kinder, gentler world that so many children want to experience? The Parent Toolkit offers these suggestions.

 Be a role model – Show kindness and compassion to others whether it be at the grocery store, in traffic, or your reactions to world events.

Talk about the importance of kindness and consideration with your children.

 Go beyond talking about kindness – Having “talked the talk”, give kids the chance to “walk the walk.” Of course, it is important to talk to children about the importance of being kind to others, but we must also give them some tools and experience. Talk through situations they may encounter and different ways to respond. Give them opportunities to practice kindness with family, friends, and your community.

For more suggestions click on these links

     14 Little Ways to Encourage Kindness

     Five Ways to Teach Kindness to Kids

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  - Mahatma Gandhi

Happy New Year!

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