Ways to Teach Your Kids Kindness (2023)

“Can you believe what she’s wearing?” “Don’t you think he’s fat?” “Why would anyone want to be friends with her?” “He’s ugly.”

Comments like these—or worse—are not uncommon among children, or even with adults. We now live in an age where photos and posts online can garner nearly instant and anonymous comments from total strangers and acquaintances alike. These reactions can be rude, hurtful, and even malicious. It is more important than ever that parents teach children to be kind to others.

Why We Need More Kindness

Today, judging others seems to be an activity practiced by far too many people. It’s all too easy topost comments about other people, whether they’re celebrities or ordinary, everyday citizens. Unkindness isn't new; humans have been cruel to each other for thousands of years. But today the ease, speed, and anonymity with which people can pass judgments and criticism onto others is unprecedented. Kids who are at the forefront of tech and social networking are learning from what they see around them.

Children also tend not to be able to see the bigger picture. Because young children usually focus on what's right in front of them and tend to not think too far ahead, they may not realize the full effects of what behaviors like meanness, exclusion, or bullying can have on other kids. And kids are naturally self-centered, which means that they aren’t always able to put themselves in someone else’s shoes or make a conscious effort to think about how someone else might feel. That does not mean, however, that kids are naturally unkind.

Kids are hard-wired to have empathy for others and want to help. Parents, caregivers, and teachers can take advantage of these natural instincts that we're all born with and encourage kids to practice kindness in their everyday lives.​

Ways Parents Can Encourage Kindness in Kids

To nurture kindness in kids, try incorporating some of these practices into your daily routines.

1. Do Unto Others

Young children need reminders about trying to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. Ask your child to try to remember to think before saying something about someone and to take the time to consider how they might feel if someone said it to them. How would they feel if they found out that someone was making fun of their dress or criticizing them for not doing a math problem fast enough? Would they want someone to praise them for trying or to put them down for not doing something right? Would they want someone to compliment them on something they do well or would they want someone to make fun of them? Teaching empathy is a key part of teaching kids kindness.

2. If You Cannot Say Something Nice…

The adage about saying nothing at all if you don’t have something nice to say about someone is a good lesson in kindness to teach kids. Teach your child to get into the habit of saying only positive things—the sort of things that will make someone feel good rather than sad. Teach them to hold their tongue when they have a negative opinion about something. For example, if their friend asks them whether they like a drawing they did and they didn’t like it, they can practice finding something positive about it. “I liked the colors you used,” or “You made a nice, big house” or something similar is great. They should not mention what they did not like about it. Another example: If a classmate isn't very good at sports, your child can offer encouragement and praise the classmate for trying.

3. Kind Words and Smiles

It’s also a good idea to get kids into the habit of being friendly and finding something nice to say to someone. (That said, a child should know the basics of how to protect themself from stranger and acquaintance dangerand should know what to do if they ever get lost.) Let your child see you tell the checkout person at the supermarket to have a nice day, thank a waiter for serving you, or compliment a neighbor on the hard work they did in their garden.

Be a good role model and try to be nice to people you interact with throughout the day. Be the behavior you want to see in your child.

(Video) 10 Ways to Teach Kids Kindness | Parenting A to Z

4. Thank You, Please, and More

Teaching good manners, such as being respectful to others, greeting people properly, and speaking to people in a polite way, is also an important part of raising a kind child. And since you live with your children, you’ll reap the benefits of having pleasant and nice individuals growing up in your home.

5. Guard Against Spoiling

Kind children are also children who are charitable, who know that their parents cannot buy everything they want for them (and understand why they should not get everything they want), and are patient, thankful, and have self-control. If you want to teach kids kindness, make sure you don't spoil your kids.

6. Bullying and Cyberbullying

Be very aware of the dangers of cyberbullying, both by being vigilant about what your child sees and reads online as well as by keeping close tabs on what they are writing and sharing. Learn about bullyingand what to do to prevent and stop bullying.

7. Be Nice to Your Child

Even when you’re tired and frustrated—specially when you’re tired and frustrated—try to speak in a kind way to your child. Discipline with love, support them when they are down, and as always, be kind.

8. Kindness Is Contagious

Similarly, kids who may not naturally be inclined to bullying others or being mean may join in when others are doing it. If your child can set an example of kindness, it too may spread to their social group.

9. Being Kind Makes Kids Feel Good

When you encourage kindness in your child, they will feel better not only about the world they live in but also about themself. That’s the thing about raising a good child who is kind: not only will kindness lift up your child and the others around them, it will help them grow to be a happy and loving person.

12 Sources

(Video) Game For Teaching Kids Kindness | Parenting Expert Dr. Deborah Gilboa

Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

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  2. Illing S. Vox. Why humans are cruel.

  3. Alhajji M, Bass S, Dai T. Cyberbullying, Mental Health, and Violence in Adolescents and Associations With Sex and Race: Data From the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Glob Pediatr Health. doi:10.1177/2333794X19868887

  4. Brummelman E, Thomaes S, Nelemans SA, Orobio de castro B, Overbeek G, Bushman BJ. Origins of narcissism in children. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2015;112(12):3659-62. doi:10.1073/pnas.1420870112

  5. Riess H. The Science of Empathy. J Patient Exp. 2017;4(2):74-77. doi:10.1177/2374373517699267

  6. Reid C, Davis H, Horlin C, Anderson M, Baughman N, Campbell C. The Kids' Empathic Development Scale (KEDS): a multi-dimensional measure of empathy in primary school-aged children. Br J Dev Psychol. 2013;31(Pt 2):231-56. doi:10.1111/bjdp.12002

  7. Murphy J, Zlomke K. Positive Peer Reporting in the Classroom: a Review of Intervention Procedures. Behav Anal Pract. 2014;7(2):126-37. doi:10.1007/s40617-014-0025-0

    (Video) Parenting Tips: How To Teach Kids Kindness And Compassion In This Self-Centered World

  8. Rowland L, Curry OS. A range of kindness activities boost happiness. J Soc Psychol. 2019;159(3):340-343. doi:10.1080/00224545.2018.1469461

  9. Schipani D. Parents. Un-spoil Your Kid.

  10. StopBullying. How to Prevent Bullying.

  11. Sege RD, Siegel BS. Effective Discipline to Raise Healthy Children. Pediatrics. 2018;142(6). doi:10.1542/peds.2018-3112

  12. Zaki J. Scientific American. Kindness Contagion.

Ways to Teach Your Kids Kindness (1)

By Katherine Lee
Katherine Lee is a parenting writer and a former editor at Parenting and Working Mother magazines.

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How do you teach children the importance of kindness? ›

7 Helpful Tips On Teaching Children Kindness
  1. Being kind to others in the presence of your child.
  2. Observing your child's behaviour and encouraging them to learn about their feelings.
  3. Promoting kindness in children through open conversations.
  4. Simple everyday actions that will bring joy to the lives of others.
30 Apr 2021

What are some ways kids can show kindness? ›

Kindness at school
  • Hold the door open for your teacher or headteacher.
  • Let someone else go in front in the queue to go out to play.
  • Help a friend who's stuck on their classwork.
  • Clear up a mess you didn't make.
  • Offer to hand out the fruit and milk at snack time.
  • Hang up someone's coat if it's fallen off its peg.

How do I teach my 7 year old kindness? ›

There are some easy steps to build empathy and kindness in your children.
  1. Model kind behavior. ...
  2. Highlight people's emotions around you. ...
  3. Reassess how you tease your children – is it demeaning, taunting or degrading? ...
  4. Point out how their behavior affects those around them. ...
  5. Teach your children the joys of helping others.

What are 7 acts of kindness? ›

7 random acts of kindness
  • World Kindness Day is celebrated annually on November 13th. ...
  • Perform a small act of kindness for random strangers, without the intention of being recognized. ...
  • · Smile. ...
  • · Listen. ...
  • · Pay it Forward. ...
  • · Holding the door. ...
  • · Show Gratitude to a Stranger.
7 Nov 2018

What is kindness in simple words for kids? ›

It's being selfless, caring, compassionate, and unconditionally kind. Like love, it takes practice to understand and feel it. We share love with others through kind acts such as a smile, a nice word, an unexpected deed, or a planned surprise.

What are 10 ways to show kindness? ›

Here are some tried and true ideas for how to be kind with those special people in our life.
  1. Surprise them with an unexpected visit or phone call.
  2. Give them a big hug.
  3. Express your empathy. ...
  4. Give them a handwritten card or letter.
  5. Babysit for free. ...
  6. Write them a letter.
  7. Make them a meal. ...
  8. Go visit your parents.
27 Jun 2022

What are 20 acts of kindness? ›

20 ideas for random acts of kindness
  • Tie a coat to a tree. ...
  • Give out free coffee. ...
  • Pay for someone's groceries. ...
  • Create a care package for a homeless person. ...
  • Send a letter. ...
  • Bake or buy. ...
  • Shovel for a neighbor or friend. ...
  • Offer to fill someone's tank with gas.
16 Dec 2015

What are 50 acts of kindness? ›

50 Simple Acts Of Kindness
  • 1 Read stories to school children.
  • 2 Donate blood.
  • 3 Bake something nice to bring into work.
  • 4 Leave positive notes in random places.
  • 5 Give chocolate to delivery drivers.
  • 6 Help someone with their bags or buggy.
  • 7 Buy someone in the queue a coffee.
  • 8 Volunteer at a homeless shelter.
12 Feb 2020

What are 5 ways to show respect for kids? ›

Here are 5 ways to show respect, develop your child's capability and avoid power struggles:
  1. Ask Fewer Questions. Parents are inquisitive creatures. ...
  2. Wait to Respond. ...
  3. Let Your Child Own His/Her Own Body. ...
  4. Let Your Child Answer for Herself/Himself. ...
  5. Show Respect for Your Child's Eventual “Readiness”

How do you develop kindness? ›

8 Effortless Ways to Make Kindness Part of Every Day
  1. Decide to be kind. Each morning, tell yourself that you will focus on being kind. ...
  2. Increase your awareness. ...
  3. Be appreciative. ...
  4. Look for opportunities to be kind. ...
  5. Smile. ...
  6. Be kind to yourself. ...
  7. Be kind to the people closest to you. ...
  8. Keep a kindness journal.
18 Mar 2016

What are 5 ways to show respect? ›

Here are 7 simple ways you can teach your girl to be more respectful today:
  1. Listen and be present. ...
  2. Be thoughtful of others' feelings. ...
  3. Acknowledge others and say thank you. ...
  4. Address mistakes with kindness. ...
  5. Make decisions based on what's right, not who you like. ...
  6. Respect physical boundaries. ...
  7. Live and let live.

What are 3 kindness examples? ›

To get you a sense of what we're talking about, here are a few examples:
  • Giving compliments.
  • Giving gifts.
  • Saying kind words.
  • Showing gratitude.
  • Doing an act of service for someone else.
  • Being respectful.
  • Noticing good things that others do.
  • Giving your time to someone else.

What are 5 simple acts of kindness we can do to make a great impact? ›

Five Random Acts of Kindness
  • Do your neighbor a favor! Maybe they could use a hand shoveling snow, or maybe you could offer to babysit their kids for a night for free. ...
  • Buy a stranger coffee. ...
  • Sign up to volunteer. ...
  • Clean out your house and make a donation to a local charity. ...
  • Make a donation to your local United Way.
16 Feb 2016

What are some kindness activities? ›

17 Activities for Kids to Practice Kindness and Compassion
  • Play a cooperative, team-building game with friends. ...
  • Volunteer at an animal shelter. ...
  • Visit the elderly. ...
  • Join a family fun run that donates money to a charitable cause. ...
  • Volunteer at a food bank. ...
  • Make a family Kindness Jar. ...
  • Write a kind note for a family member.
29 Jan 2018

How can I teach kindness at home? ›

  1. Respond quickly to your child's needs. Show empathy for their emotions, e.g., “I'm sorry! ...
  2. Talk with your child about emotions, describing and labeling them. ...
  3. Model how to show empathy. ...
  4. Teach skills. ...
  5. Read picture books that depict kindness and empathy.
22 Dec 2021

Can kindness be taught? ›

Kindness is an essential prosocial behavior that helps the giver, receiver, and society as a whole, but we have been showing less empathy and kindness over the years. All hope is not lost, as kindness CAN be learned and taught. While the journey is not always easy, we can all take steps to help create a better world.

What is the golden rule of kindness? ›

Most people grew up with the old adage: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Best known as the “golden rule”, it simply means you should treat others as you'd like to be treated.

What are 15 acts of kindness? ›

15 Random Acts of Kindness to do today
  • Hold the door for a stranger.
  • Buy the next person's coffee.
  • Pick up litter on your walk to school, work, the store – anywhere!
  • Leave a kind note on a stranger's car.
  • Pay a stranger's library fees.
  • Donate blood, if you are able to.
17 Feb 2019

What are 24 acts of kindness? ›

24 Prompts Random Acts of Kindness For Kids
  • Brainstorm a way to show you're thankful to a loved one.
  • Donate toys to a charity.
  • Sponsor a family. ...
  • Find out what your local homeless shelter needs the most and do a drive for that item. ...
  • Spend the day opening doors for strangers, students, or people at school.
  • Donate food.
12 Dec 2018

What is kindness short answer? ›

Kindness is the quality of being gentle, caring, and helpful. We have been treated with such kindness by everybody. Synonyms: goodwill, understanding, charity, grace More Synonyms of kindness. 2. countable noun.

What is a good sentence for kindness? ›

Examples of kindness in a Sentence

We thanked her for her many kindnesses. You would be doing me a great kindness if you agreed to help.

How do you raise a child that cares? ›

Here, experts share 10 tips for raising a caring, compassionate child.
  1. Model Empathy. ...
  2. Discuss the Difference Between In-Person and Online Conversations. ...
  3. Emphasize the Permanence of Social Media. ...
  4. Show Some Gratitude. ...
  5. Write Genuine Thank You Notes. ...
  6. Be Consistent in Your Modeling. ...
  7. Boost Your Child's 'Feelings Vocabulary'
30 Apr 2021

How can I be kind 100 ways? ›

100 Random Acts of Kindness Ideas
  1. Give an unexpected compliment.
  2. Plant a tree.
  3. Let someone cut in front of you in line.
  4. Pay the toll for the car behind you.
  5. Slow down so someone can merge in front of you in traffic.
  6. Let someone else take that primo parking spot.
  7. Give someone your seat on a crowded bus or subway.

How do you show kindness with words? ›

Words of Kindness for a Friend
  1. I am so blessed to have you in my life.
  2. How lucky was I to cross paths with you?
  3. You mean the world to me.
  4. Thank you for always being such a warm and caring friend.
  5. I wouldn't want to do this life without you. ...
  6. I'm sorry you're going through such a challenging time.

What are the 4 guidelines of kindness? ›

Kindness doesn't have to be a large act for someone else, but rather it can be a small random act of kindness for one another. Regardless of the act, kindness is rooted in these four principles: awareness, unconditionality, non-judgment, and action.

What are simple good deeds? ›

Good deeds are good for you
  • Try some random acts of kindness. Hold the door for people behind you. ...
  • Volunteer in your community. Volunteer at a local breakfast program or soup kitchen. ...
  • Foster animals for the holidays. ...
  • Pay a visit to a nursing home. ...
  • Tip generously. ...
  • Spread the love. ...
  • Help your neighbour. ...
  • Donate food or clothing.

What is the best random act of kindness? ›

Kindness Ideas
  • Share your favorite recipe.
  • Be polite on the road.
  • Donate used towels or blankets to a shelter.
  • Pick up trash.
  • Take a walk outside.
  • Leave a surprise note in a library book.
  • Laugh often.
  • Leave a surprise in your mailbox for your mail carrier.

What are deeds of kindness? ›

100 deeds of Kindness

An act of Kindness can change someone's day, make someone feel loved, inspire goodness and in turn shift our outlook towards life. Acts may involve creating a craft and giving it to someone, feeding a cow, or just smiling and saying hello to people at the supermarket.

What are 10 random acts of kindness that dont cost money? ›

18 Acts of Kindness That Don't Cost Money
  • Send a handwritten note. Break out the pen, stationary, envelope, and stamps; we're going old school! ...
  • Listen without distractions. ...
  • Share your affirmations out loud. ...
  • Give Blood. ...
  • Volunteer your time. ...
  • Pay it forward. ...
  • Offer to babysit. ...
  • Offer technology help.
19 Aug 2021

What are the 10 acts of generosity? ›

10 inspiring acts of generosity
  • ​Buying a stranger's wedding dress. ...
  • ​Ending a tough commute. ...
  • ​Helping a homeless Good Samaritan. ...
  • ​Buying someone a meal. ...
  • ​Giving away valuable jewelry. ...
  • ​Leaving a huge restaurant tip. ...
  • ​Donating a massive cash prize. ...
  • ​Buying someone else's groceries.
5 Mar 2015

What are 10 ways to be respectful? ›

Main body
  1. Be kind and courteous.
  2. Be polite, avoid interrupting or causing disturbances.
  3. Listen to others and respect differences in beliefs and opinions.
  4. Think before you speak, your language and tone.
  5. Lend a helping hand or ear and practice compassion.

What are the 7 ways to be respectful? ›

7 Ways to Be Respectful (And a One-Step Trick to Getting More Respect From Others)
  • Listen and be present. ...
  • Be thoughtful of others' feelings. ...
  • Acknowledge others and say thank you. ...
  • Address mistakes with kindness. ...
  • Make decisions based on what's right, not who you like. ...
  • Respect physical boundaries. ...
  • Live and let live.
18 Oct 2019

How is kindness learned? ›

Children learn kindness when they 'feel' what its like to make someone else smile. And their brain learns. They learn about kindness when they share with others, when they comfort others, when they give to others. And their brain learns.

Is kindness natural or learned? ›

Kindness is a natural tendency, but it's also a skill to be learned and practiced. One that parents and caregivers of young children can nurture one experience at a time.

What are six ways you can show respect? ›

Here are six ways to show respect for others:
  • Be punctual. If you say you're going to be somewhere at 2:00, be there at 2:00. ...
  • Compliment the achievements of others. It's important to be sincere in this. ...
  • Be sincere and authentic. ...
  • Do what you say you'll do. ...
  • Lose sarcasm. ...
  • Be polite.
27 Aug 2014

What are the five acts of kindness? ›

Here are a few ideas...
  • Do your neighbor a favor! Maybe they could use a hand shoveling snow, or maybe you could offer to babysit their kids for a night for free. ...
  • Buy a stranger coffee. ...
  • Sign up to volunteer. ...
  • Clean out your house and make a donation to a local charity. ...
  • Make a donation to your local United Way.
16 Feb 2016

What are the kindness skills? ›

The 12 kindness skills are: Assertiveness, Compassion, Helpfulness, Caring, Fairness, Integrity, Respect, Responsibility, Self-discipline, Gratitude, Self-care and Perseverance. This programme is part of wider resarch based on Social and Emotional Learning (SEL).

Is kindness inherited or learned? ›

In fact, kindness is in our genes. That's right, according to several studies conducted over the past decade, kindness has a genetic component. At least some aspect of altruism and empathy is hereditary and it's written in our genes - our DNA.


1. Teaching students how to be kind and respectful (Best Friends Foundation)
(Best Friends Foundation)
2. Teaching Children the Power of Kindness | Barry Lane | TEDxCCSU
(TEDx Talks)
3. Teaching Kids How to Be Kind and Think About Others | Barrón Family - The K Club | Parents
4. Mommy Monday: How to teach your kids to be kind
5. How to Help Your Child's Compassion Grow
(Greater Good Science Center)
6. Teaching Children Respect In 10 Minutes Or Less
(Live On Purpose TV)
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