We all want to raise kind, selfless children who jump at the chance to help others, but unless you are extremely blessed to have a child who just “happens” to have an innate nature of kindness and selflessness, sometimes they need a little encouragement to help them be that selfless person that we all have inside ourselves waiting to get out. But there are so many ways we can teach children to help others, and much of the starts with us.
That’s why I’ve teamed up with Wall’s Pastry as part of their Helping Hand campaign and nationwide search for a person, club or local facility that deserves a special thank you for its contribution to the local community to share some tips on how we can cultivate a kindness and selflessness in our children which they can carry with them right throughout their entire life.
The chosen project will receive a £5,000 makeover from the Wall’s team of ‘helping hands’ – whether it be a local Brownies’ clubhouse that’s a bit dilapidated or a sports club the kids attend that could do with new changing rooms or an individual who’s always giving to their local community and deserves a new garden or bathroom in return!
So here’s some ways we can cultivate kindness and selflessness in our children and focus on teaching them to help others….
Start with you
Children learn by mirroring so if they hear and see you being kind and selfless to others, then it’s only natural they will mirror your actions. Start with the small things together – calling on a poorly neighbour to check if they need anything, asking if someone needs help getting off the bus and offering to help at local community events can be a really good way to start.
Teach them manners
This may seem an outdated thing to mention but I’m a firm believer that manners go a long way, and in fact are the ground from which selflessness and kindness grow. It’s so easy for young children (and let’s face it, even adults!) to try and hide behind you when they don’t feel like saying hello or being friendly to someone, and so teaching them that in fact, to be kind and selfless you have to acknowledge and appreciate other people even if you don’t feel like it is really the first step in the right direction.
Teach them life isn’t always fair (and doesn’t revolve around them!)
It’s natural for young children to think they are the centre of the universe…but we need to help them recognise that the world doesn’t always work in their (or other people’s favour). We can start teaching them from a young age how to process setbacks – whether they are ours or someone else’s – and how we can be resilient and work around them. This also means us as parents saying “no” to things – sure, it’s tough if they can’t have something they want, but they need to know that they, and others, don’t always get want they want in the real world.
Reward acts of kindness
We’re not talking anything showy here, but if your child does something kind or selfless then always try to take the opportunity to reward their kind or selfless act with some positive acknolowedgment. A few words of gratitude and a little cuddle can really go a long way in making them realize they have done something special.
Teach empathy through story telling and play
This is one of my favourites. Do not ever underestimate the power of story telling and play for teaching kindness and selflessness. When you read to or play with your child, try to be in the moment and look for teaching and reflection points to help open up their mind to how they could respond to a certain situation with kindness and selflessness.
Remember, teaching our children kindness starts with us, so why not take a moment to nominate a deserving cause or person – you’ll also be entered into a £500 cash prize too!
***Nominate your deserving cause or person here.****
*This post is sponsored by Wall’s Pastry. All opinions are my own.