It’s time for the final post in my ‘Guide to Modern Parenting’ series brought to you by Baby Dove. I think I saved the best for last because I know I’m not alone when I say that I want to be able to say that I not only love my kids, but that I genuinely like them (most of the time) too. I want them to be known as kids who are not only full of life and personality but who are also kind and caring.
Kindness is important to me and I’d love my kids to be kind towards each other, kind towards Ryan and I, kind towards their friends, kind towards other adults and kind towards themselves, too. One of the phrases I find myself saying a lot these days when I’m doing the mom taxi thing is “Hey guys, let’s all be kind in this car. This car is for kindness.” I’ll admit that teaching kindness is a process which is why I was so incredibly proud to read these words in Ilan’s third term report, “Ilan is an engaging boy who is kind to his peers and has many friends”. It’s made my heart so happy to know that he is seen this way and hear that he has some manners even when I’m not around to nudge him a reminder.
Richard Weissbourd, a Harvard psychologist has identified these five ways to raise our kids to be kind which is a great start for cultivating kindness in children:
- Make caring for others a priority. Instead of saying to your kids: “The most important thing is that you’re happy,” say “The most important thing is that you’re kind.”
- Provide opportunities for children to practice caring and gratitude. Make sure that your older children always address others respectfully, even when they’re tired, distracted, or angry.
- Expand your child’s circle of concern. Make sure your children are friendly and grateful with all the people in their daily lives, such as a petrol attendant or a Big Issue vendor at the robots.
- Be a strong moral role model and mentor. Walk the walk and talk the talk.
- Guide children in managing destructive feelings. Do your best to invite your child into your calm, rather than join their chaos when they’re having a hard time.
Let’s all add a dose of kindness to our day and choose kindness whenever possible. It is always possible!
And that’s a wrap of the ‘Guide to Modern Parenting’ series – Part 1: Trust Your Gut, Part 2: Get Back to Basics, Part 3: How to Parent with Freedom and Part 4: How to Raise Kids You Like. These posts were sponsored by Baby Dove as part of their Trust Your Way campaign.