7 Simple Ways to Encourage Kindness in Children

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It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice. -Author Unknown

I’ve often told my kids that I don’t expect them to be friends with everyone they meet, but I DO expect them to be nice to everyone. While some children seem to be born naturally kind, others need careful “training.” As a mother to both kinds of children–the naturally kind and the teachably kind–I’ve noticed several simple steps to foster kindness in kids.

ways to encourage kindness

How to encourage your children to be kind

  • Be a model of kindness – children learn best when they can look to and follow a good example. Be the kind of person you want your children to be…because they WILL model your behaviors whether you want them to or not.
  • Kindness starts at home – When I was a kid, I sang a short song that went like this:

“I want to be kind to everyone
For that is right, you see.
So I say to myself, remember this:
Kindness begins with me.”

Like most important lessons, children learn the value of kindness at home first. Before they have friends and school mates, they can practice kindness within the family.

ways to encourage kindness

  • Start small – practicing kindness doesn’t have to be big. Being kind can be as simple as remembering to say hello, or smiling when you pass a friend in the hall or the grocery store. Reminding kids (and adults!) that kindness is built on small, reachable actions encourages them to do more.
  • Point out kind acts – when you see someone do something kind, point it out. Saying it out loud and bringing attention to your kids’ kind acts as well as the kind actions of others builds a catalog of “things I can do to be kind” in a child’s brain. Pointing out kindness is also a gentle, positive reminder of how you want them to act.

ways to encourage kindness

  • Point out their feelings – being kind feels good. We all want to feel good. Get children used to the good feeling they get when they are kind, and they’ll crave more of it.
  • Be grateful – when a kindness is shown, say thank you and encourage your children to do the same. Gratitude is another step in learning to be kind.
  • Report back – give your children accountability. At the end of every day or every week, discuss the kindnesses shown to them as well as the kindness they’ve shown to others. When they know they have to report back, they’re more likely to keep their eyes open for opportunities to show and receive kindness. Dinner time and bed time are both wonderful times to share “kindness reports.”

How do you encourage kindness in your children?

Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you – not because they are nice, but because you are. -Author Unknown

© 2013, Lolli. All rights reserved.

About Lolli

Lolli has written 3177 posts on this blog.

I became a mom in 1996, and in 2005 I had my fifth. Yes, 5 kids. In 2007, this blog was born (my 6th baby that will never grow up) and I've been sharing recipes, photography tricks, parenting tips, and everything in between.

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  1. Hey :)

    This is awesome-sauce!!! :)

    We will share the article far and wide!

    Peace to you.

    Team Kindness Blog


  2. What a great post–I, too, have a couple of kids who are naturally kind, and a couple I’m hoping someday will get the hang of it. Thanks for the tips and the hope that all kids are teachable in this area :)


  3. Absolutely the model I follow. I am so proud to say I have two very kind and polite young men. When I heard my four year old call me “ma’am” when he was scolded I about cried I thought it was so respectful. Great tips for every parent!
    ? Julie Maloney ? (@Momspective)´s last blog post ..How Tenacious D Saved My Marriage


  4. This is such a great reminder! Life sometimes goes by so fast I forget to point our kindness. Thank you!


  5. LOVE this list! I cannot stress enough how modeling kindness impacts them the most. They remember, they watch. And they do what you do, not what you say!
    Annie @ Mama Dweeb´s last blog post ..Low Entries #Giveaway Linky ~ January 11th


  6. LOVE this advice!
    Kelly {the Centsible Life}´s last blog post ..7 Tips for Avoiding the Flu & Vicks Gives Back


  7. What great tips. Love it. It is so hard to encourage kindness when not everyone is being kind…… Parenting is sooooo fun!
    Brandie´s last blog post ..Icicles…….Wordless Wednesday


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