Here are four tips from the parenting and child development experts at Invest in Kids to help children act in more caring and giving ways.
1. Model civility in your every day actions
When you're in the checkout line, let the parent with the crying child go ahead of you. With a smile on your face, hold the door open for the few seconds more it will take the person approaching to get through it. Showing consideration for others when you're out and about with your child allows your child to see how the little things we do for others can become big acts of kindness.
2. Talk with your child about how to show consideration for others
What are some things that someone else has done to make your day? Has a friend, a teacher, or a relative done something to make your child feel good? These conversations will give your child the opportunity to reflect on what caring for others really means in his or her life, every day. Your child can ask questions and talk about different situations that have happened or could happen.
3. Be a gracious recipient
While we tend to put a lot of emphasis on giving selflessly to others, it's equally important to accept the gifts we receive with grace. Whether it's a present wrapped and bowed or a kind gesture, always acknowledge it with at least a word of thanks. Remind children that no one -- not even the closest family member or friend -- has to be helpful. When they are, every act -- from the invitation to stay for dinner at a friend’s house because mom and dad are running late, to the neighbour who drops by with his snow blower to help you dig out after a heavy snowfall -- is to be appreciated.
4. Read stories that depict sharing and giving.
Books are a great way to help children understand new concepts. Reading stories and looking at pictures together -- even with babies, who are learning from day one -- can help to show children how to behave with others and help them to build a vocabulary of words to express care and kindness. This is especially important for toddlers who are developing social skills such as sharing and getting along with others. When reading with older children, ask open-ended questions to encourage them to express their thoughts about something that has happened or may be about to happen in the story.
This content was created by the child development and parenting experts who developed parents2parents.ca. Visit the site to learn more about the ages and stages your young child is experiencing and to share in the parenting journey of other parents just like you.
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