Kindness is contagious – and it makes both you and the person you got it from feel great.
But while some people are naturally kind, and the example they set is likely to make those around them behave kindly too, others need to learn the trait, say experts.
And the best way to do it, they explain, is by adults – including parents and teachers – simply letting young children see them being kind.
“The most important and powerful way to teach kindness is through the modelling of behaviour – adult behaviour,” explains Dave Whitaker, author of the new book, The Kindness Principle. “Every interaction an adult has with a child is essentially a learning moment.”
um a little girl (maybe 7?) just came up to me and said “you’re really pretty and i love your hair” and i almost cried? i’m so happy rn?
— emily, the taylor swift girl 🦋 (@tsemily13) March 21, 2021
Ensure that children know showing kindness helps us to connect with friends and family – it makes them feel valued and builds positive, healthy, strong relationships.
4. Discuss missed opportunities
Talk about times when you may have missed the chance to show kindness or courage – perhaps when you could have spoken out or better assisted a friend in need. Let your child know that by learning from these missed opportunities, you can be even more ready next time.
5. Praise kindness and courage
Praise your child when you see them being kind or courageous. For example, they may have told someone off for being unkind. Helping them recognise they’ve done the right thing will encourage them to continue to do this in the future.
6. Stress it will make them feel good too
Help your child see that acting in a kind or courageous way can make them feel good – helping others is a sign of caring, and wanting others to be treated well.
7. Explore how they feel when someone is kind to them
Ask your child to explain how they feel when someone is kind to them – and help them see these are the feelings other people will have if they’re kind.
8. Point out kindness
Try to highlight examples of kindness that you notice. For example, if you see your child help someone who’s fallen, or if your child offers to let another child go first on the slide, praise them for thinking of others.
9. Be a kind family
Ensure you’re always celebrating kindness and courage as a family – it’s great to show your child ways in which everyone can play their part in showing these important qualities.
Tales of Courage and Kindness is a new digital storybook collection aimed at inspiring children to help create a kinder world. The book can be downloaded free at DisneyPrincessStories.co.uk
The Kindness Principle by Dave Whitaker is published by Crown House Publishing on May 4, priced £16.99.