Teaching Our Kids Kindness

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Being a homeschooling mother means being responsible for the bulk of my children’s formal education. Reading with my wiggly boys and teaching my sanguine child math are all my responsibility.

But what about their social development? How do we teach our children to be kind to others?

5 practical tips for teaching kids to be kind

1. Catch Them Being Good

I read somewhere that to fill your children’s love tank, for every negative thing you say, you need to balance that with 10 positive things.

OUCH! (I need to do a better job)

So, when I see Rachel helping Maeve put on her shoes or Adam offering Thomas a turn to watch a show on the iPad or Apple TV, I make a point to say something.

Praise your children when you see them behaving the way you want, instead of always telling them what NOT to do.

teaching kids kindness

2. Model Good Behavior, Mom

In our home, teaching kindness starts with modeling.

No, my daughters aren’t in modeling school, but they’re learning by watching my example. If I’m a grumpy mom, chances are strong that they’ll be irritable as well.

If I’m snippy to my husband, I shouldn’t be surprised when my kids answer me the same way.

If I want my children to treat each other kindly, I’ve got to model that behavior myself.

3. Role Play

This doesn’t work so well for babies and toddlers, but it’s perfect for the other kids. I ask Rachel and the boys to put themselves in someone else’s shoes.

“How would you feel if you were new, and no one spoke to you?”

“If you fell down and hurt yourself and I laughed, what would you think.”

Taking a moment to put the shoe on the other foot at least helps my children to understand that words and actions matter.

teaching kids to be kind

4. Practice Makes Perfect

Take a minute and look at your day. How can you build in moments of kindness? To bring a smile to your family’s face by your actions?

It doesn’t have to be something elaborate. Just a simple, random act of kindness can speak volumes.

Get your kids involved. Brainstorm and think of things you can to together as a family to bless other people and bring them joy.

teaching kids to be kind

5. Talk about What They Watch

My children don’t have unlimited screen time, but have to check with me for the Mom stamp of approval of a show or movie. We stick to characters who help to reinforce the values that I’m trying to teach my little ones.

We enjoy watching them as a family and talking about friendship, respect and kindness. We chat about how the characters work together and overcome challenges that are familiar to my children.

Need some ideas for shows and movies to help foster a discussion about kindness?

Here are some of our favorites:

Daniel Tiger (especially the episode Friends Helping Each Other)
Super Why (The Ugly Duckling)
Fox and the Hound (tissue alert!)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame

What about you? How do you teach kindness to your kids?

P.S. Dealing with bullying? We’ve got you covered.

Teaching Responsibility to Kids


  1. Dianna, I so agree that this is very important. I see a lot of parents that are focused on how smart, how talented, how popular their kids are, but they forget to teach them niceness! I think teaching kids how to be emotionally intelligent. I actually think this is a skill that may be more important than some of the other skills we are spending so much time and money on. Thanks for the great post. I agree!

  2. This is a great post! Thanks for sharing it at the Homeschool Showcase and the #laughlearnlinkup!

  3. These are such good, practical tips. It’s great to see them collected all in one post. Modeling good behavior just might be the most impactful and sometimes, hardest thing to do. Little eyes are always watching! #laughlearnlinkup

  4. So many great ideas and I completely agree, positive enforcement gets you so much further than punishment or telling children off. We just have to think how we’d like to be treated really.

    Thanks for linking up with #MondayParentingPinItParty x

  5. Great list! I’m similar to you about the screen time but #1 was a great reminder for me! I need to do better too! 🙂 Thanks

  6. We’ve also enjoyed the Charlie and Lola videos for kindness. Charlie puts up with a lot in taking care of his little sister with patience and kindness. 🙂

  7. Look into your community and see where you and your family can give, even giving your time can be of value to someone; helping get groceries for an elderly person, walking the dog for someone who is sick, helping with a fundraiser. There are many opportunities within a community to show kindness. You just have to do a little research and find something suitable for you and your family. For example, each year I take my daycare children to the local food bank. Before we head out, we have a discussion about those in need or less fortunate than ourselves. I want them to realize not everyone, even in their own community, has food on the table every night. Expressing to them the importance of sharing what we have certainly evoked kindness.

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