Practicing kindness generates good feeling, a broader understanding of the world, and fosters happiness in both the giver and receiver. Most people would agree that it is an important virtue to teach our children. Here are some strategies to encourage kindness in children.
The bedrock of kindness is empathy, the ability to put oneself in someone else’s shoes and feel compassion for their experience. Help children adapt to different kinds of people and encourage them to look below the surface. Why is that little boy so quiet? Is he shy? Afraid? Why might a friend seem sad? Is there something your child can do to help them feel better? Ask your child what helps him when he experiences similar feelings, and encourage him to try out different ways of being there for others.
Help your child understand that manners aren’t simply conventions; they are ways of showing respect for and honoring other people. A rule, such as not interrupting others, is way of valuing what someone has to say. Saying thank you is a way of showing gratitude and acknowledging someone else’s effort.
Be kind to your kids.
Show your children that you love them, respect them and value their feelings. Practice good manners with them. Never berate your children or call them names.
Set limits with your kids.
Being kind doesn’t mean that you are always “nice”. Children need limits and to need to respect your authority. They will need to be told when they are out of line and punished accordingly. Limits are about teaching your child how to be in the world and to treat others with respect. In many ways, setting limits is a way of teaching children the standards of respectful and kind behavior.
Reinforce acts of kindness in children.
If your daughter brings you a bouquet of flowers, show your joy. If you see your son sharing his favorite game with a friend, acknowledge it. Encourage children to give cards when people are sick or to thank them for gifts.
Encourage children to be kind to the world at large.
Reach out in your community in some way. Perhaps you can volunteer at a local soup kitchen, visit the sick or the elderly, or walk the dogs at the local animal shelter. Often, giving back to the world can be a family practice.
Treat others with respect, demonstrate thoughtfulness, volunteer, and practice empathy. Children are more likely to internalize what you do, than what you say to do.
Cindy Jett, LICSW has a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Notre Dame, and a Masters of Social Work from the National Catholic University. She had two years of postgraduate training at the Institute of Contemporary Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis in Washington, DC. She worked on staff with adult survivors of traumatic childhood experiences at The CENTER: Posttraumatic Disorders Program in Washington, DC for two years, and had a private psychotherapy practice in Washington, DC for ten years.
Most recently, Cindy has discovered a passion for writing children’s books. Her first book, Harry the Happy Caterpillar Grows, is for the anxious child who is having difficulty adapting to a life change. The whimsical story is about Harry, a caterpillar that has a fantastic life full of games, friends, and leaf eating, who one day discovers that he is expected to build a chrysalis and become a butterfly. Devastated by the news, Harry vows to remain a caterpillar forever. As the story unfolds, Harry learns that he can’t keep things from changing, and he summons the courage to build his chrysalis and to join his friends as a butterfly. The book is beautifully illustrated and appropriate for children, ages 4-10. There are talking points in the back of the book to guide parents in how to use the book to help children adapt to change.
Cindy’s second book will be published in the spring of 2011.
You can visit her website at http://www.harrythehappycaterpillar.com for more information on helping kids adapt to change.
There is a lot if buzz going around about crafting for children; and more and more parents are exploring the option with their own kids in mind. Crafting is not only a great outlet for children, but it’s also a way to entertain them that doesn’t involve the television or video games.
Many parents worry that crafting will be messy, but it doesn’t have to be. There are a wide range of markers and paints out now that do not stain clothes and wash off walls easily. Laying down a tarp or plastic tablecloth over the craft area and wearing an apron or smock can go a long way toward keeping the place tidy. Yarn and thread based crafts are easy to clean up and store, not to mention quite portable for such things as long car rides. Likewise, many worry that a craft hobby could be expensive, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Repurposing newspapers, buttons, and empty containers that would be otherwise tossed in the garbage is half the fun.
Crafting can be a great way to engage your children for a couple of hours each day.
Some activities are a great way for you to bond with your child, and some are perfect for them to do on their own, giving you an often appreciated break. The benefits of a few hours of regular crafting are far-reaching and not just for you. Your children will thank you for life!
Seven Benefits of Crafting for Children:
Fostering creativity and imagination-
Any type of crafting involves engaging the imagination. This is a sometimes oversimplified benefit, but the truth is that creativity employs a number of mental processes including problem solving, idea generation, and comprehension. This is also what is termed “out of the box” thinking.
Repurposing knickknacks for their projects will teach kids to see objects for themselves and their possibilities rather than as components. This is a solution-finding strategy that will serve them under any foreseeable circumstance.
Developing dexterity, and motor function-
Shaping a project with their own hands is an empowering experience for your child, but it has other advantages as well. When children are very young is the best time to develop hand-eye coordination and basic motor skills. This will make learning to write, amongst other things, much easier for your little one.
Teaching children to follow directions-
Many projects are “make it up as you go”, but a great deal involve instructions and patterns. In these cases, if the steps are not followed, then the project does not turn out. This is a cause and effect way of teaching children that following directions can be crucial to the success of a venture, and that is a lesson that will pay off in the future whether they’re installing that new software on their computer, or assembling that bookshelf they bought at the store.
Learning perseverance and concentration-
Some projects can be finished in an hour or two but some of them, particularly many designed for older kids, can take weeks or even months, culminating in a great many hours worth of work. Knitting, for example, can be one of these, so can model building. They also require the crafter’s full attention. Forget to purl a stitch or glue a tiny piece in just the wrong place and the entire result will suffer. The ability to stay on task and see a lengthy project through to its end is something that will benefit your child no matter what career they choose.
Interacting with others in creative and problem-solving situations-
Various crafting hobbies are solitary, but some can or must be done with one or more companions. Many of these involve building or creating something from scratch. There are a lot of valuable lessons that can be learned from this type of interaction, including group brainstorming and problem-solving, negotiation and compromise, and the value of others’ input. This will prepare them for all stages of life, which often requires us to work with others to achieve a desired result.
Finishing a project gives a sense of accomplishment-
Completion of any endeavor is a source of pride for all of us. When a child finishes a craft, they not only learn follow-through, but also pleasure at seeing the fruits of their accomplishments. A finished scarf can be worn; an assembled and decorated bird-feeder will bring feathered friends into a yard.
Self-Expression and self-esteem-
Studies have shown that the best way to increase a child’s self esteem is through actual achievement of objectives and goals, not just from receiving outside praise. The gains in self worth obtained this way will be longer lasting and teach the child to value their own self opinion rather than wanting constant validation from others.
These seven benefits, along with just the “plain old fun” aspect of crafting, make it easy to decide to get your child started on a project today.
Jacque Fairbourn is a consultant and mother working to promote kid’s crafts with TotalClassCreative, an online resource for craft supplies. You’re welcome to make use of this article, as long as this resource box is retained in full.
Those who have the responsibility of raising their children on their own have very busy lives and because of this they often find it difficult to go back to school. Not to mention that the costs of raising children is so expensive that it can be impossible to afford an education. According to Raise the Nation, roughly 38% of all single mothers live in poverty, making returning to school an impossible feat. However, having a bachelor’s degree gives them a much greater chance of doing better in life. There are many single parent college grants and scholarships that can make the dream of returning to school a reality.
If you find yourself wanting to return to school, but know you can’t afford it, then it is time to start doing a little research to see if you qualify for any of the many single parent college grants and scholarships which have been designed to help people just like you go back to school.
This is the best way to secure a financially sound future for you and your children and you will be setting an excellent example for them as well. The following are a few of the better college grants for single parents that you may want to apply for.
One of the better known college grants for single parents is The Jeanette Rankin Foundation Scholarship Program which was founded in 1978. Since then it has helped over 500 women go back to school by providing them with much needed scholarship funds. If you are interested in applying for this opportunity, forms are available between November and February of each year. Although the fund is targeted to single women who are at least 35 years of age, many single parents fit this criteria.
The Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund is an excellent place to start if you happen to live in the state of Arkansas.
Most counties in the state participate in this program and it is one of the better single parent college grants available if you qualify.
Another foundation that offers grants for single parents is Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation for Low-Income Women and Children which was formed in 2003. The organization specializes in providing access to education, support, and opportunities for women, especially mothers, who come from low income households.
The R.O.S.E. scholarship is another route to take that was established for women who come from a background of domestic abuse to help them improve their lives. This fund is provided mostly to women who live in the New England area of the United States and to qualify you typically must have completed at least one year of undergraduate studies already. These are just a few examples of the many single parent college grants available that can help you realize your dream of getting your degree.
Pieter West travels the world on a regular basis and have written about numerous subjects. He has an extensive knowledge about, finances, DIY, parenting advice and many more subjects.