As parents, kindness is something that is always on our radar. We want our children to be kind to others, and we want other children to treat our kids with kindness. We long for the world to be filled with more kindness and compassion and less hostility, disagreements, and hate. The pandemic has taught us the true value of kindness, but how do we ensure we are passing it on to our children?
Mason Prep: Where Kindness Counts
Our friends at Mason Prep continuously go above and beyond to not only model kindness to their students, but also praise their students for acts of kindness they exhibit. Recently, two brothers who attend Mason Prep made it their business to help the Charleston Animal Society. They created flyers, advertised, and sold POUNDS of boiled peanuts to raise over $750 for the shelter. Another student is busy painting oyster shells to help the children at MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital.
As parents, what can we do NOW to help our children become kind citizens who are aware of those needs around them?
- Model Kind Behavior
Kids are always listening and always learning. Your child is in the backseat and you are on the phone? Yes, they hear you. They are playing in the other room while you discuss something with your husband? Yes, they hear you. Use positive language and affirmations. Focus your compliments on internal traits, rather than external characteristics. Instead of “You look cute in that shirt” try “I’m so proud of you for choosing your outfit today.”
- Make Small Steps
Show your child that kindness doesn’t have to be elaborate or costly. You simply need to think of others. Holding the door open for someone. Waving to the car behind you as they let you into traffic. Baking a treat for the neighbors…just because. These are the little things that kids will soak up and adapt as their own one day. It’s always important to talk to your child about how they were kind today. Did you include someone on the playground today? Did you share your lunch with someone who forgot theirs? Make sure to ask about their day and praise their kindness! If you have older children, starting a ‘kindness jar’ where you put a quarter in each time you see kindness can be great motivation! When the jar is full, use the money to get ice cream as a family!
- Nurture Empathy
Empathy is the foundation for kindness. If you can teach your child to recognize other people’s needs around them, you are one step closer to a kind child! Turn the screens off, and talk with your children. If you can remove the distractions and have genuine face-to-face engagements every day, you are teaching your child the value of communication and helping them understand one another. Talk about feelings. How did that make your friend feel? Did you feel happy when you included your classmate? When children are able to identify their own feelings, they are better able to identify the feelings of others. Teach your child how to be happy for others! Help your child see how the other person may feel rather than what they may have gotten (i.e the new toy).
As parents, we have the privilege of raising the next generation to be kinder and more thoughtful. You have the power to use your everyday moments for good!
If you are looking for a nurturing and supportive place for your child, Mason Prep is a wonderful school, and community, to check out. Take a virtual tour of Mason Prep today!