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It is SO important to teach your young kids about kindness on a daily basis!   Over anything else, I want our kids to be kind… kind to others and kind to themselves.

10 ways to teach kindness

1.  Be an example.
You must be an example of kindness if you want your kids to be kind to others.  My parents were always kind to others.  They still are (and everyone tells me this).   I have tried to be the same way.

One day when I was lying down with our son at night,  he said: “Mom, when you helped that man with the cane get out of his car yesterday, Daddy told us to look at you and watch how you helped others because he wants us to be like you.”   You could have just stopped my heart right there – how sweet and great to know that they are watching your kindness even when you don’t know.

2- Talk to random people.
This one will drive my husband C-R-A-Z-Y when I do this and it drives my dad crazy when my mom does this, but we talk to random strangers like they are our friends.  My grandma did this- she would compliment a total stranger or strike up a conversation with the lady in the grocery store line beside her.

I loved this about here.  I love this about my mom and I love it about myself… because I feel like I have the power to make ANYONE feel special at any time of the day!  Yes- I will walk up to you to tell you that I love your hairstyle or that I think your daughter’s boots are adorable.  It’s just my way of letting you know that I care.

3- Love your family.
Be there for your family and love them.  Scratch your child’s back (for the 100th time that day).   Make them blueberry muffins when they ask you (I say this one because I just made them for our son as a surprise for his breakfast… he will be so excited!)  Hug them at any time of the day… and soon you will see them doing this, too.


4- Read them books about being kind.  
I love this book because it really shows the complete willingness to give fully of yourself to someone else.

5- Give them opportunities to grow.
Have you heard that quote about “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day?  If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime?”   My brother told me this once when I was in high school and I have not forgotten it.  (Now… I think that he said it when I asked him to hook up my computer and I wanted him to just do it for me instead of teaching me, but I learned the lesson, nonetheless).

I try to give them a lot of opportunities to help one another…. “Can you help Allie walk up the stairs to go down the slide?  You are always such a sweet brother.”

helpful big brothers

Every child wants their parents to NOTICE when they do things that are nice.   They want their parents to be proud of them!   I am a grown woman with my own family and still love to hear things like this from my parents, as does my husband,  so I can be sure that our four children love to hear it from us, too.

7. Explain things
When I tell our kids that “Gi (my mom) will meet us at the church because she has to run dinner into the church office,”  It needs to be said, “because a family is sick and she is cooking them dinner to help.”
When I tell the kids that “I have to stop at Uncle Tim’s house to pick up your cousins”, I need to remember to say “because Aunt Jill and Uncle Tim have to work late today and we are going to help them out.”  I want them to understand WHY we do the things that we do.

8.  Volunteer
Trust me when I say that with four kids, a part-time job, this blog, and a very busy life… I rarely have ‘free time’.   I can say, with 100% accuracy, that I have not sat down during the day to watch one of my shows on TV in over two years.   I do this at night with my husband, but not during the day.  I am always busy.

However… I take the time to go into one of our kids’ classroom every week to volunteer.  I help friends when they need a babysitter or need help with something.   I make meals for friends that have sick children (or are sick themselves).  I do these things because I know that it is helping someone else.   It is not always about “Us”… we need to make it about “Them”.   I want to help them.
I want to make life easier for them and God gave me the ability to do so.  I am healthy and active, so I should be helping others.

The other night, I was tucking our son into bed and he said “Mom?  You always help other people even when they don’t help back.  I think it’s because you just like to make other people happy.”     I’m glad that he sees that, as a child, so he can know that I went out of my way to help others, even when there was not an external reward involved.  


9. Fill up their cotton balls.
I use a kindness cotton ball reward system in our house and it has been AMAZING.   The kids are always trying to be nice to earn their cotton balls.

Children model what they see.  Be kind to them and they will be kind to others. Talk to them.  Sing to them.  Hold them.  Snuggle with them…


Oh- and bonus #11… don’t talk about others in front of your kids!  SERIOUSLY!   They are listening.  They are taking it all in like a sponge.  They will soon start to do the same.  In my line of work, I see this all too often.

You are welcome to join me for my free parenting e-mail course and Grab your FREE one-on-one time calendar here.  We will talk about ways that we can become better parents.  It is completely free, no strings attached.

inner voice

Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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  1. Great points. I especially like number 7. Kids are always wanting an explanation of things, and it’s important to explain things like that to them.

  2. Thank you for sharing this. At the birthing class we attended last year before the birth of our son, the instructor asked the parents to state something they wanted their child to be. Some parents said things like athletic, smart, musical … and I said I wanted our son to be kind. 🙂 I love your ideas on how we cultivate that trait in him.

  3. Hi! I am starting a new website called The Parents Directory and it will basically mostly be a database for parents everywhere – crafts, recipes, parenting information etc. Would love to add some of your fantastic posts to it like this one. Would you mind it?
    Please get in touch on if you feel like i overstepped

  4. Becky, Great ideas. Being an example of the right thing is so much more powerful than telling them what to do. Compliments are such a great way to emphasize the right thing. One of my sons really needed to hear the words “I am proud of you”, once I realized how important that was I would be sure to tell him when I was proud of him. It is so sweet to hear him as a young man say Mom I am proud of you….

  5. I encourage my kids to monitor each day. They have to do at least one good deed a day, like helping someone at the school or sharing something with a friend. We have a Journal where we record everything and it seems to be a very fun way for them to get engaged.

  6. Love this. All of it!

    “Compliment a total stranger.”…YES! My children have grown up watching me do this and are following suit. Blesses my heart to hear them tell another child, “You have a nice smile.”

    It needs to be said, “because a family is sick and she (Gi) is cooking them dinner to help.”… YES! I’ve always shared the (age appropriate) truths of life with my children. How will they know what it looks like to love your neighbor as yourself, if they aren’t aware of life’s hardships?

    It is not always about “Us”…YES! Our family motto is actually, “It’s NOT about ME!”

    I write about child training from the earliest ages on my blog and am passionate about the impact and benefits of early child training. This post is

    Thank you for the time you put into your work and writing here at Your Modern Family. I’m loving your blog and am glad to have found it!

    You’re doing great work. Bravo:)

  7. All your advices are great. We need to teach our kids proper attitude so they will grow as better people. No matter how busy we are, give time to your kids.