5 Fun Ideas to help teach your children kindness and thankfulness.
We all want children who will grow up to be kind, thankful citizens of the world, so it is essential that we spend a little time teaching them these very important concepts. Children are naturally innocent and sweet when they are young but they don’t always know the consequences of their actions or indifference. From a young age children are hungry to learn new habits and skills. So it’s a perfect time to re-enforce kindness and thankfulness. Remember, kindness is contagious. If you want your children to learn to be kind, it’s important to show them kindness too. Thankfulness is another skill that will help your child develop a grateful character as they grow and learn.
How can you teach children to be kind and thankful? We often teach manners by saying please and thank you, and both kind acts teach respect. But manners take time to learn and should be incorporated into everyday life. But manners are something that takes time to learn and should be incorporated into everyday life. Practice makes perfect! Of course, there will be lots of golden rules and suggestions that are learned along the way from books, parents, and teachers but your child may also enjoy a hands-on approach. Below you will find a list of fun activities you can try. All will take time, so be patient. Not every activity will be a perfect fit due to age or situations, but it can be a good starting place and may spark new ideas for you and your child.
One for me and one for you.
It’s a simple concept, but when toddlers receive a new toy, let them pick out a toy that they already own and love and give it away. You can put it in a giving box and donate or simply let them give it to a specific child right then. Then you can talk with your child about how good it feels when they, themselves receive a gift and giving will start to make more sense to them.
Links of thankfulness.
This is a very visual example of how much we have to be thankful for, even at a young age. Tell your child to tell you one or two things that they liked or were thankful for in their day. Then, write it on a strip of construction paper and start to link them together. Soon you will have a long chain of thankfulness and it will teach your child to be mindful of things to be thankful for.
The helpful tree.
On a white piece of construction paper draw a tree trunk with limbs or cut one out and paste on the white paper. Separately, cut out leaves or get a package of them at the dollar store. (Alternative: “Plant” a branch in a flower pot sticking up to resemble a tree.) Assign your child an age appropriate task to help around the house. Every time they complete the task successfully without complaining, let them attach a leaf to their “tree”. This is a fun activity that teaches the feeling of accomplishment by doing a helpful and kind task. Your child will be excited to see their tree fill up with the leaves they earned.
Community thank you letters.
Help your children write letters to first responders and service people in your community. Explain to them, (on their level, of course) what service each person does, that helps protect you and your family on a daily basis. Let them know that you don’t need to reserve gratitude for those individuals that you know personally—there are many people in the community whom you might feel grateful for as well. Your little one can also enclose a picture they drew or colored. This will be sure to touch the hearts of those who serve tirelessly, while teaching your child not to take these people for granted.
Be kind to yourself.
As your child grows it is important that they develop feelings of self worth and kindness towards themselves. These are not boastful thoughts but positive and encouraging thoughts that they may think about later when they are having a difficult time. Take a photo once a week of your child and have them tell you something positive about themselves. For example: I like to smile or I am strong, and write that beneath their picture in a memory book and date it. It will give your child encouragement at the time of the activity and also later on as they look back at it. It also makes a fun memory book for you, the parent, to keep.
These activities will encourage your children to learn kindness and gratitude skills, but you must also always mindfully model these traits to your children or grandchildren. We at Potty Train with Pinky Bear always believe in the positive approach to learning, and have created a system to help toddlers successfully master potty training in a fun way. Parents-we’ve found a way to make your job easier while bonding with your child! For more information on how Pinky Bear can help Click Here. As always, find other helpful information in our blog.