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What does it mean to a child when you say, “be kind?”

As parents, our words are not relatable to a child without attaching an action. To teach our children to be kind to themselves and others, we must first show them what kindness means.

Do you speak gently and kindly to yourself?

The words you say to yourself are heard by your child. They believe everything you say. For instance, if you say, I look fat in these jeans, your four-year-old may repeat those words to herself and believe she is fat.

Do you respect those you meet in public?

The words you say to others should be polite, even in the most stressful of situations. Checking out at the grocery store or speaking to someone at the park, use words like “thank you”, “have a nice day”, “I love your sweater, that color looks nice on you.” Just by using simple and pleasant comments to others, your child will pick up your cues of kindness.

Do you help others in need?

It’s never too early to begin showing compassion for others. Get your child involved in actively doing something for someone who needs help or needs their spirits lifted. Bake some cookies with your child and take them to a neighbor’s house and explain to your child the reason behind the kind gesture.

Do you judge others without knowing their story?

Unkind comments we make about others we do not know, whether it’s their physical body, the color of their skin, what they are wearing, or their financial status- our children begin to put those people in a category he or she can never like or get close to. Children are not born with prejudice; they are taught prejudice. If we shelter our children from the world and do not explain why others are different, they will have a very hard time when they start school and begin making friends with those who are different from them.