Today, it seems like far too many people are quick to judge others. It’s too easy to say bad things about other people, whether they’re famous or just regular people. Cruelty is nothing new; people have been mean to each other for thousands of years. But it has never been easier, faster, or more anonymous for people to judge and criticize others than today. Kids who are on the cutting edge of technology and social networks learn from what they see.
Children have a hard time seeing the big picture. Because young kids usually only think about what’s right in front of them and don’t plan too far ahead, they might not fully understand how being mean, being left out, or bullying can hurt other kids. And kids are usually self-centered, which means they can’t always put themselves in someone else’s place or try to think about how someone else might feel. But, as caregivers at a Rockville child care center know, that doesn’t mean that kids are by nature mean.
Kids are born wanting to care about and want to help other people. Parents and caregivers in school age programs in Rockville, MD, can use these natural traits that we all have to help kids be kind in their everyday lives.
Even before they start being kind, your kids can feel what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes. You can teach them about understanding, giving, and kindness in a way that makes sense to them if they think about how they feel. Get a book that teaches kids that they have to choose to be kind and helpful to others. You can talk to your child about what they learned from the story after you’ve read it to them.
Having these kinds of talks with young kids in their first years of school is a great way to teach them about being kind. And it can get everyone in your family or school talking about their own ideas of what kindness means and the acts of kindness they value.
Young children need to be reminded to try to see things from someone else’s point of view. Ask your child to try to remember to think before they say something about someone else and to think about how they might feel if someone said it to them. How would they feel if someone made fun of their outfit or said they weren’t fast enough at math? Would they rather have someone praise them for trying or criticize them for doing something wrong? Would they rather have someone tell them how good they are at something or have someone make fun of them? Empathy is a very important part of teaching kids to be kind.
Help your kids connect the idea of kindness with the many concrete ways it can be shown: sharing, volunteering, giving, including, comforting, supporting, championing, compromising, listening, and noticing when someone needs help, like a classmate with a math problem, a family member with a chore, or an older person who needs a seat on the bus. These habits have something in common with good manners since saying “please” and “thank you” to the school bus driver is also a nice thing to do and makes the world a better place.
Instead of yelling at our kids when they make mistakes, which will happen, we should try to create a positive atmosphere around kindness. So, when your kids are kind, catch them in the act and tell them, “That was very kind of you!” You gave your sister your cupcake to cheer her up!”
Children are highly perceptive and pick up a lot about how to behave from the people in their lives. When you are out and about, practice kindness so that you may lead by example and have tales to share with the kids in your life. When your children are present, you should also practice compassion toward others so they can see and imitate you.
Parents may share personal anecdotes to show their children how to be kind, giving, and empathic in the real world. Think about sharing with your children instances when you received kindness from others or demonstrated compassion to others. Think about how happy it pleased you to receive kindness or how happy it made you to be kind to someone else.
Alternately, teach kids to regularly reflect after being good to someone and think about the satisfying sensations resulting from giving and kindness. This can teach kids to be kind without expecting a reward and make them feel good about it.
We should tell ourselves and our children that being kind isn’t always easy. Even though you don’t always feel like being kind, that doesn’t mean you aren’t kind. It can be hard to be kind to a brother or sister who is annoying you. It can be scary to stand up for a friend at child care in Rockville, MD, who is being mistreated. It can feel strange to say, “I’m sorry for your loss.” It can be hard to know what to do with someone with different abilities, either because of their brain or body.
We can only gently remind our kids to think about how other people might feel and then encourage them to take responsibility for any mistakes they make since apologizing is itself a kind thing to do. Also, the more children practice being kind; the easier it will be for them to do so.
Being kind and helpful spreads easily. Children who may not be bullies or mean-spirited by nature may participate if others are. If your child can lead by example in showing kindness, it could also catch on in their social circle. Caregivers in an after school program in Rockville, MD, have seen this theory in action time and time again.
Your child will feel better about themselves and their environment if you model helpfulness and compassion for them. That’s the thing about bringing up a decent, kind child: kindness not only helps your child and those around them but also helps them develop into a joyful, loving adult.
MCCA has been recognized by the Maryland State Legislature for its commitment to Montgomery County issued a quality programs and special needs child care Proclamation in 2016 to MCCA for its commitment to Montgomery County child care for more than 50 years. MCCA was also selected as a 2018 nonprofit finalist for a MOXIE Award for boldness and innovation
MCCA is the oldest nonprofit licensed child care provider in Montgomery County and started its work in 1968 as a Community Action Project of the War on Poverty. Recognizing the need for quality child care programs in their neighborhoods, a group of local activists formed an association to establish centers in Montgomery County that would serve a diverse population and establish high standards for child care. Now, more than 50 years later, MCCA’s dedicated and expertly trained staff continue their tradition of providing high quality child care and play-based education for children.
Families with school aged children who can afford their child care expenses during the school year often struggle to afford the all-day programs they need when school is out for the summer. The Richard Krampf Summer Adventures Scholarship Fund was established to help provide children a safe and stimulating place to spend their weeks when school is out. Please contact an MCCA Director for details on how to apply.