Teaching Kindness to Young Children
Rachel Haley, M.Ed.   •   May 15, 2023

While learning their ABC’s and 123’s is an important part of education for young children, growing in their socio-emotional development is just as essential. Research shows that children who are exposed to acts of kindness are more likely to demonstrate kindness themselves. Furthermore, teaching children to be kind and empathetic towards others can help them build stronger relationships and become successful in the future.

Kindness is the Character Value of the month for May at Children’s Lighthouse. All month-long children will learn about kindness through multiple lessons, activities, and events. The staff at Children’s Lighthouse is dedicated to teaching and modeling kindness in our early learning schools. The value of kindness Is integral in our Lighthouse Pathways™ Approach to Learning and is intertwined in all aspects of our three proprietary curriculums all month long.

While your child will learn about kindness in our classroom, here are some ways kindness can be reinforced and focused on all month long at home as well:

  • Role-Playing: Modeling behavior is one of the most effective ways for young children to learn kindness. Children mimic what they see, and role-playing allows children to practice kindness, understanding, and empathy toward others. Family members can tell stories of kindness to others and have the family act it out. For example, the scenario could be that a child tripped while running on the playground and broke the toy that they were holding. Parents can ask how they could show kindness to the child.
  • Use Positive Reinforcement: When a child demonstrates kindness, it is important to acknowledge positive behaviors to encourage them to continue showing those traits. One idea would be to use a Kindness Jar at home. Find a container and small tokens like little rocks, marbles, or pom-poms. Every time your child demonstrates kindness at home, add one token to the jar. This gives your child a visual gauge of their acts of kindness. When the jar is full, celebrate a month of kindness with ice cream or an extra playdate at the park!
  • Community Service: Volunteering or community service is a great way to not only talk about kindness but live it out in your community. Find small activities like helping at a food drive, picking up trash at a local park, or visiting a nearby nursing home to help give back through simple acts of kindness. Not only will this provide an opportunity for your child to demonstrate kindness, but the whole family can get closer by impacting their community in a positive way!

Investing in your child’s socio-emotional growth will pay off in the end. Kindness can be taught and grow in the heart over time. Everyone can learn kindness! Even the mean old Grinch changed over time and said, “To kindness and love, the things we need most.”

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