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teaching kindness

Teaching Kindness to Your Kids: 17 Ways to Love Others

It is daunting when you think about teaching kindness and empathy to kids in this age of entitlement. Fortunately, it is still possible with just a little thought and consideration each day. In fact, you can jumpstart your parenting game if you start thinking about others in general.

Being other’s oriented as a family will help your kids to develop a heart of empathy no matter the age because we all have something to give. Teaching kindness and empathy to your kids is possible despite this “me” world.

Teaching Kindness to Your Kids: 17 Ways to Love Others

1. Pick out gifts for holidays and celebrations. Make sure your child has the opportunity to help pick out a gift for someone else in the family. Perhaps even contribute a little money, if he is older. This will help you and your family focus more on the giving than the receiving part of the holidays.

RELATED: 50 Awesome Christmas Activities For the Family That Are Actually Fun!

 2. Bake for neighbors or cook for a meal train. This is a great opportunity to spend time together in the kitchen learning how to measure, stir, and pour. Plus it teaches your child to give to others when you are finished with the meal. This is how teaching kindness will curb entitlement.

3. Pick projects of giving and do it together.  Pick a project that will fit in with your family. We loved doing Operation Christmas Child and Angel Tree. Our kids helped us shop for the gifts and deliver them. It was something that became a tradition for many years in our house. In fact, they asked to do it every year.

4. Capitalize on everyday opportunities to give kindness. Encourage your child to make not only his lunch but his sister’s lunch, get a diaper or a bath towel for the baby, or help a sibling who is sick. This will teach your child to think of others inside your family, not just himself.

5. Model empathy. Model the behavior you wish to see. Kids learn more from what you do than what you say.  Avoid raising your voice, rolling your eyes, or any other gestures that would make your kids feel unwanted. If you are kind and have empathy, chances are your kids will be kind too. Teaching kindness is so easy if you do it first.

RELATED: How to Stop Yelling at Your Kids: 7 Easy Tips to Be a Calm Parent

6. Read books that teach empathy and kindness.  Choose picture books that emphasize character qualities such as empathy and kindness. Read them out loud to all your kids. Talk about the characters in the story, and how they showed kindness. Or what happened to the ones who were not.

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 Purchase your ebook or paperback on Amazon or at your favorite digital store. 

7. Read Bible stories that show kindness. Emphasize that God tells us to love our neighbor. That includes family and friends. Reinforce that you also love them and so does Jesus.  Let them know how happy it makes Jesus when they do nice things for each other. Teaching kindness and empathy to your kids is rooted in the Bible, so always go back to that.

RELATED: 40 Fun Reading Activities For Pre-School and Elementary Age Kids

8. Positive reinforcement. Catch your kids doing something kind and compassionate. Make a big deal about it, even if it is small. Your other kids will hear it and want to get the same kind of praise too. Don’t forget to thank your children when they do nice things.                              

9. Volunteer/Missions. You don’t have to leave the country to volunteer or do missions. Encourage your child to shovel your neighbor’s driveway, plant flowers, volunteer in the church nursery together, or encourage her to give her artwork to a sick person. When your kids are older, do a family mission trip. We went to the Texas border for many years. It was the best thing we ever did as a family.

RELATED: Family Bonding Activities: Fun Ways to Spend Time Together

10. Donate toys and clothes. Go through your child’s room together and gather all the toys, stuffed animals,  clothes, and shoes that your child no longer uses. Bag it up and donate it to a local charity such as Goodwill or Salvation Army. Teaching kindness to your kids by actively giving to others is such a great way to pass your faith to the next generation.

11. Buy gift cards for others at school or church.  Get a bunch of $5 gift cards from Starbucks and have your child give them out to the custodians, cooks, secretaries, teachers, and lunch ladies at school. Or give them to the Sunday School teacher at church. This act of love is how to teach kindness and empathy to your kids.

12. Money jar. Place a money jar in the kitchen for everyone in the family to donate their pocket change throughout the year. When the holidays come, decide as a family what to do with the money. Then spend the day together doing the mission project.

13. Food donation for the homeless. There is one area in my town that typically has homeless people asking for money or food. Several times we have put together a care package with water, canned food, peanut butter, etc. and kept it in our car to give to them when we drove by. Teaching kindness and empathy to your kids is easy when you live it.

14. Gifts for the community. Make a meal, bake goodies, or make artwork for your local fire/ambulance department, your child’s dentist or doctor, mailman, or trash collector. Then deliver it together. You and your child will be blessed when you see their faces as they receive the gifts.

15. Lemonade stand. Help your kids with a lemonade stand. Have them donate or tithe the earnings to a family who is hurting, your local church, or a cause dear to your children’s heart. Teaching kindness to your kids by using their own money is one way to curb entitlement.

16. Prayer. Pray with your kids before bedtime. Spend time talking about people you need to include in your prayers. Find the name of the missionaries from your local church and include them on the list. Having a heart of prayer is how to teach kindness and empathy

RELATED: 29 Creative Ways to Pray (When You Don’t Feel Like Praying)

17. Work at a shelter. One of the most impactful things we did as a family was work at a women’s shelter on Thanksgiving Day. My kids were exposed to women and children who were victims of domestic abuse and had no place to go.

The drive home from the shelter was always quiet as the kids processed what they saw. It made them so much more grateful for what they had.

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teaching kindness

Teaching Kindness Is Not Easy In This Entitled World

Teaching kindness to your kids is hard when we have the most entitled generation ever.

Fortunately, you can with a little extra thought and planning. Furthermore, you can have children who think of others not only now but throughout their lives.  One of the easiest things to do is model empathy every day and your kids will repeat what they see.

Don’t get discouraged if they are not feeling so kind right now. It takes time to mold a child’s heart.

Parenting is more of a marathon, not a race. Stay in there for the long haul. One day you will see fruit if you keep implementing these tips. One day it will pay off. I promise.

You can learn how to teach kindness and empathy to your kids. It just takes a little thought.

Teaching kindness and empathy to your kids is so important. What do you do? Comment below.

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Got Family Problems? There is Help and Hope!

Are you experiencing family problems or have a family estrangement? Do you feel shame, anger, or rejection? Check out my book Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart on Amazon or at your favorite digital store. 

This book not only talks about my seven-year estrangement (and reconciliation) from my Christian family but also gives solid tips to help you with your family problems. Break free from your pain. Allow God to heal you no matter what has happened in your family of origin. There is hope when your family falls apart.

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Creating Family Memories Book

Get Creating Family Memories. This book will help you manage your family in a way that allows more time to be intentional with your kids.  It includes a schedule too. You can get it at your favorite bookstore.

Join the group Christian Family Living on Facebook

Continue the conversation on Facebook and join the group Christian Family Living. This is a place for Christian women to freely talk about parenting, marriage, faith, family, and culture. Being a Christian is hard! Let’s do it together. Most of all, a sense of humor is required. Got memes? Bring it on!

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There are tips on building a Christian home, parenting, marriage, family issues, and faith. Learn how to get back to the things that matter most in your life and the life of your family. It’s time for a revival!

25 thoughts on “Teaching Kindness to Your Kids: 17 Ways to Love Others”

  1. Truly we need to be intentional about raising kind and compassionate kids.
    All your suggestions above are useful, I especially love it when the children volunteer at homes and shelters.

  2. The attitude of gratitude is such an important moral to instill and because it’s learned and not an automatic emotion we focus a lot of energy modeling this without kids! Thanks for sharing these tips!

  3. Thank you so much for sharing. I have three children and they are all so different in their responses. Helping them navigate learning how to be kind is a daily gift. As mine are older now, I see the benefits of all the hard work when they were younger.

  4. Wow! Thank you so much for all these wonderful ideas! I’ve been feeling convicted that I need to be praying WITH my kids more often. This is very encouraging.

  5. What great ideas! Some of these we have done but definitely some new ones for the future! I especially love that there is a mix of really simple things you can do at home (#4 was one of my favorites!) And a few more ones that take forethought!

    1. Brynn, I am so glad these ideas were helpful to you. Raising kind and compassionate kids takes some extra thought and creativity, but it sure is worth it in the end. Glad you like #4!

  6. I love love LOVE this, reads like this are so needed today thank you for writing this I’m defiantly sharing with all my friends who just became mothers, they’re already doing amazing and this will help them even more!

    1. Amanda, I am so glad this is helpful to you. It does take a little thought to be “others” oriented, but it is really important. It is not hard to raise kind and compassionate kids when God is in the center of it all.

    1. Marya, yes, it is not easy to raise kind and compassionate kids without some thought. It seems easier to just do it ourselves, but including our kids in on the help is really worth it.

  7. There is so many ways and I love that you have this list. My boys love taking canned goods to the homeless shelter and dropping coloring books and crayons off to the kids in the hospital.

  8. This is such a great list! I love all your ideas here and we do many of them but I did learn a few new ones. Thank you for sharing your ideas.

  9. These are great ideas! We made valentines cards for people in the hospital yesterday. My 8 year old didn’t really want to do it, but his card turned out super sweet!

    1. My kids weren’t really excited about doing nice things for people until after it was done. Then it was all of the sudden meaningful. If I were led by everything they wanted to do, we’d be on the couch watching TV while on social media. Sometimes you just gotta go and let them see for themselves over time. Good job for doing this!

  10. Super awesome post! I have a six-year old and man, kids are selfish! Lol but we do do many of these do I’m very hopeful this is just a stage lol I especially like the one of having him contribute a little to gifts during Christmas. I think this is an awesome idea and will start it this year! He now has 10 months to get used to the idea ????

    1. Kids are selfish by nature, for sure! We had to drag one of our kids on the mission trip every year. Once there, it was great. It was just getting there that was hard. Lots of attitude. We just ignored it and kept going. This kid now says it was the best thing we did as parents. Keep on. One day it will all click. Until then, batton down the hatches.

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