7.09.2013

Teaching kids kindness

I mentioned that I was trying to teach my little minions how to serve each other and be kind in this post a few weeks ago.  We've been working on it and I thought I'd share a little idea that is working pretty well for my kids.  
I came across this article recently and I thought that I could use the idea of "warm fuzzies" to help show my kids how good it can feel to serve and be kind.

The concept is simple.  We had a quick little talk about how as a family, we are a team and I showed them some examples of what is kind and what is not kind.  For example, I showed them that it is nice when we hug, share, or help each other or when we do something nice for a sibling without being asked. Then I told them that hitting, yelling at each other, or being selfish with a toy is not nice.  I then explained that any time I caught them being nice, they would get to put a fuzzy in the jar.  Every time we fill the jar, it makes our family or "team" happier.  And when the jar is full, we get to share a prize as a family.  {like ice cream, a special outing, or a prize that the kids can enjoy together.}

If they aren't playing nice, they don't have to take a fuzzy out of the jar or anything like that, I just show them the jar and remind them that they don't get a fuzzy because our family has a hard time being happy if we're fighting.

Remember that Lila and Ezra are just three and two, so I didn't want things to be super complicated.  I'm not a big fan of rewarding my kids every single time they help out in the home.  {Like chores, etc} I feel like part of being a family is to be kind, help out, and learn responsibility.  I don't want them to feel like every time they're nice, they get rewarded.  But I want them to see that home is a happier place if we serve each other.  That is why I don't let them have a fuzzy if they ask for one.  {Like Lila caught on fast and started smothering Ezra with hugs then asked for a fuzzy.}  I only give them a fuzzy when I catch them being kind and they don't know I'm watching or listening and I don't do it every single time they're nice.  And again, prizes are specifically made to be something that we all enjoy as a family or as siblings.

My main goal is just to help them see that when they are kind to each other, it makes everyone in the home happy.  

So far, this has been working quite well.  Lila is doing especially well and I think Ezra will catch on more and more.  The kids are still kids and they disagree from time to time, but slowly and surely, I think they're understanding that being nice and doing nice things for each other only helps to make us happy.

So it's kind of silly, but maybe it'll help someone else in a parenting rut.  :)  Good luck!

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