One simple way to teach kids to be kind is to encourage them to be helpers. To be people who see others struggling and take action. It takes empathy, compassion, and true kindness to realize others shouldn’t have to struggle when it’s within our ability to lessen their struggle. And it’s the kind of thing that can change the world. Because for that moment, that one act of helpfulness can improve that person’s world. It’ll make their life easier, or better, or simpler, or more comfortable.
And for our kids-the people who can make that happen- it will bring an infinite amount of pride, and joy, and peacefulness to know they changed that one person’s day for the better. Those are the kind of people we need more of to make the world a better place.
How to Encourage Kids to Be Helpers:
1. Model being a helper.
Often show them how simple it is to make someone else’s day a little easier.
2. Expect them to help
Expect our kids to help. Tell them often, “In our family, we all help.” Teach them to help in a way they can handle based on their age like helping to unload the car. The youngest can carry in a box of cereal, while older kids carry in bags. Then they help unload and put food away.
3. Ask them to help siblings
To purposefully build positive sibling relationships, asked your kids to help their siblings with tasks. When they take the time to help each other, they feel more connected with each other.
5. Praise helper behavior when you see it
When your kids are helpful without asking them to be, you should praise them loud and clear for all to hear: “Oh, you are a helper. Thank you for being such a big help!” It lets our kids associate good feelings with the helpful actions and choices they make which will intrinsically motivate them to continue these valued behaviors in the future.
5. Remind them to ask if they can help
Not everyone wants help or is in a place where they can accept help. And that’s okay. So, if you see someone struggling or who may benefit from help, it’s important to ask them, “May I help you?” Because sometimes, the wrong kind of help, no matter how good the intentions are, isn’t helpful at all. Getting someone’s consent before we jump in to help is common courtesy.
6. Assign chores
There’s a myriad of reasons why kids need chores, but one of them is they practice helping without complaining, doing things around a home that need to be done. Then, when they’re at a friend’s house, they’ll know how to clear a table and help with the dishes and clean up after themselves.
7. Sign older kids up for a volunteer “job”
Older kids can benefit greatly for a number of reasons when they have a volunteer “job.” They’re learning how to hold a real job, but they’re also learning how to be helpers in the community at large when we’re not standing over them, walking them through it, telling them how to help.
8. Volunteer as a family
Finding volunteer opportunities for young children can be tricky. You can expose your kids to more big acts of kindness. Big opportunities to serve community, help those who need it, and volunteer with organizations who are short on money, supplies and people with extra time.
Encouraging our kids to be helpers when they’re young raises them to be adults who offer help to others. Being a helper empowers our children to realize they can make a difference in this world by reaching out and offering a simple fix to the people around them. Our kids need to know they can make a difference for the people around them.