Many people have heard of the Golden Rule: “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you” (Matthew 7:12, NASB).
It’s easy to see why this would be called the “Golden Rule!” We all want to be treated with kindness and respect. But how do we teach our preschool children to treat people kindly?
1. Model Kindness
One key way to teach kindness is by modeling kindness. Be an example! Even though your preschooler is a little person, he still deserves to be treated kindly. Our example, as parents, is a powerful tool in teaching this character trait.
Marilyn Price-Mitchell, PhD, reminds us, however, ‘We don’t make children happy when we simply enable them to be receivers of kindness. We escalate their feelings of happiness, improve their well-being, reduce bullying, enrich their friendships, and build peace by teaching them to be givers of kindness.”
So, how can we teach our preschoolers to be givers of kindness? Here are some practical steps:
Encourage them to . . .
- Practice good manners. Say “please” and “thank you.”
- Smile at others, wave to others . . . it can cheer someone who is lonely or sad
- Look people in the eyes when they talk
- Listen to other people when they talk
- Say “hello,” “good morning,” and “goodbye”
- Sit with someone new or someone that is alone
- Let someone else go first
- Take turns
- Give high fives
- Give hugs
- Use a kind tone when you talk
- Ask questions, like: “Can I help?” “Are you okay?” “How is your day?”
2. Read Books About Kindness
Here are some books that may help your child to see kindness in action:
Baby, Be Kind by Jane Fletcher
The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney
How Kind! by Mary Murphey
How Do Dinosaurs Play with their Friends by Jane Yolen
A key strategy in teaching our children to be kind, is to teach them to think of others. Our default is to think of ourselves first. Ask your child about ways they were able to show kindness that day. Involve them with your own acts of kindness.
Hopefully, these tips and fun books will help you to teach your child to be a giver of kindness!