6 Ways to Raise Kind Children

6 Ways to Raise Kind Children
6 Ways to Raise Kind Children

Nowadays, it seems like parents are solely focused on their children’s academic goals. What happened to kindness and compassion? Parents play a key role in encouraging their children to become respectful and responsible members of society, and it should be our top priority – not grades or social status. Kindness is the gateway to empathy, a lifelong virtue that helps our children become more attached to loved ones, develop healthier relationships with others, and handle simple daily interactions.

As a parent of two young children I am constantly reminding them about what it means to be gracious and compassionate – and I do my best to show them through my actions, as opposed to only preaching about it. Presenting my children with these learning experiences helps shape their values and also provides them with opportunities to develop kindness and nurture the building blocks necessary for them to develop gratitude, empathy, and compassion. No matter your child’s age, it’s never too early or too late to start emphasizing the importance of caring for one another.

Here are 6 ways to raise kind children:

1. Be an example

As parents we know that our little ones are like sponges, picking up on behaviour that they see around them. Not only is it our duty to explicitly remind our children or provide examples of kindness to them, we must also remember that our actions speak louder than words. By setting a constant example of how a kind person should behave, our actions will become second nature to our children and they will learn to lead by example, even when we’re not around.

2. Talk about kindness

As with any other value that we try to instil in our children, kindness comes over time, with a lot of practice and constant reminders. It’s important to keep a consistent dialogue open about kindness and use concrete situations or examples to help put theory into practice. Over time, kids will innately revert to choosing to be kind, and for those times when they don’t, they will still be able to reflect on their actions.

3. Teach through books

Children love books, and what better way to bring up the topic of kindness than by reading them books that focus on it. Instead of just reading the words, question your child about where they see kindness in the story, or where perhaps it lacks. Some great books for kids include ‘Have You Filled A Bucket Today‘, ‘A Sick Day For Amos McGee‘, and ‘The Giving Tree‘.

4. Teach them how to chose their words appropriately 

Children don’t automatically know how to show empathy and compassion. As parents, we need to explain the importance of thinking before you speak and how they can use their voice in a kind, and respectful way. They need to be reminded of the harm they can inflict on someone by simply using unkind words, whether it’s intentional or not.

5. Say sorry

Children aren’t perfect, and neither are adults. In fact, most adults often forget about compassion and kindness – especially when those closest to us, including our kids, push us to the limit. It’s natural for us to sometimes react in an unfavourable way however, the most important thing you can teach your child is to say ‘sorry.’ Apologizing means accepting that you’re wrong, which means you’ve reflected on your behaviour, and are willing to take responsibility for your actions.

6. Don’t criticize their efforts

Kindness starts at home. As parents, we should continually provide our children with opportunities to be kind – by letting them clean the house, wash dishes, or help with dinner, even if it means taking double the amount of time to complete. We need to be patient with their efforts because if we’re not, we can easily turn a teachable moment into a missed opportunity. If we allow them to make a difference at home that they can feel good about, then they will want to accomplish more in the real world.

27 thoughts on “6 Ways to Raise Kind Children”

  • Great tips and it sure starts with us as parents. Simple words like please and sorry always make a difference…i am learning more in my parenting journey.

  • katheats 6 years ago

    Great tips Lisa!

  • jennifer 6 years ago

    These are such amazing tips for parents! It’s so important to teach kids things like this at a young age. It really makes such a long term difference! Whatever example you set definitely sticks with them, so I agree 100% with that being #1!

  • These are such wonderful parenting tips. Especially the one about saying, “sorry.” So many people forgot to apologize for things and it only takes a second. A simple apology can make or break a relationship.

    • Exactly! I really focus on that one because I can be quite impatient and often lose my cool. I’m constantly apologizing to my kids (when I know I’m in the wrong).

  • I know what you mean. While I do want my boys to be smart academically I also groom them so they can be street smart and no common courtesy. Its second nature for me and I am always complimented on how polite they are to others because I stay on them about even the basics such as “please” and thank you”.

    • You’d be surprised at how rarely I get the ‘basics’ at school. I’d say only 1/4 of my students say thank you at any given moment when they’re rewarded with something!!

  • This is such a wonderfully straightforward parenting article. I really feel like kids learn the most through watching us and what we expose them to through books and media, so your tips are spot on. The kinder we are, the kinder our children will be.

  • I love this! One of my biggest wishes in life is that I am raising kind and respectful kids. It is hard to emulate this some days, and I know I mess up — but I hope that they continue to show kindness to everyone they encounter. The world definitely needs it!

  • These are some really nice tips. I love the first one is to be an example. Parents need to realize that kids mimic them so they need to show better examples.

    • There are so many times when I react poorly and wish in the moment that I had shown more kindness to my own children. I always make sure to talk about it, and apologize for what I said or did.

  • I’ve seen way too many parents that don’t seem to teach their kids about kindness. Sadly, the parents seem to actually go out of their way to point at and laugh at people that are different than they are in public. Kids need to learn early on how to treat everyone with a bit of love and respect.

    • I am definitely not a perfect parents, but yes, there are SO many parents who encourage bullying and negative behaviour. It’s so sad to see their kids become them, and we’re limited (us teachers) on how we can change their thought process and behaviour.

  • What a great quote, this is something I really need to remember every day with my kids. Especially on the days that I have a bad day or the kids have a bad day. We need to think of our kids futures not just their accomplishments. Great post.

  • So glad you wrote this. Parents do focus on achievements that come with metals vs being a good person. It’s more important to be a good person.

    • Thank you. I think I’m on the complete other end of the spectrum. I don’t think I’ll care much about awards, but more so about how my kids treat others.

  • These are great ways to guide children in being kind. At our preschool, they always talked about bucket-filling. It is a really great concept and easy for kids to understand. We also try to do things like donating, paying it forward, doing things for others. I think our generation is often one of entitlement, so it is good for kids to see first hang when others are in need.

    • I read that book to my students every year (and my own kids too). It’s a wonderful concept. And YES, I agree about this generation being all about entitlement…I see it every day in the classroom. It’s become so much more prominent over the past 5 years!

  • Nicol 6 years ago

    Love your thoughtful articles!

  • Rose 6 years ago

    Wouldn’t it be great if all parents practiced this. What a wonderful world it would be.

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