If you teach your kid ONE thing, let it be this

Teaching kids to be kind to animals - Parenting resource by ZenParent

Mid-Day Mumbai, one of India’s leading tabloids, often carries positive stories they call sunshine stories. For instance, recently, one of the stories described two Mumbaikars who found Rs. 14,500 in a wallet and took considerable efforts to track down the owner and then return the wallet to him.Yet another story reports that Vidyarthi Bharti Students Organization pitches in to guide underprivileged students by organising free classes in public parks, and other open spaces.

 Children and kindness: Children are, by default, hardwired to be kind. They love showing affection and care to animals, toys, and  people around them. They may share their school lunch with a stray dog or a friend who couldn’t bring one. Or rescue a kitten stuck in a drain. They may take upon themselves the blame for a mishap for a friend to spare him the punishment, without minding the ensuing pain.

Yet the same children can also be inherently cruel. Incidents of children piercing the delicate wings of butterflies with pins, tying crackers to the tail of a dog and setting it afire, throwing stones at dogs, mocking  a physically challenged person, or using a sharp pencil to poke someone, are not unheard of. Children find innovative ways to unleash cruelty for fun.

One of your biggest challenges as a parent or guardian is to balance these two conflicting natures, to nurture the kindness and help it flourish.

Lead by example how one should refrain from inflicting cruelty to derive pleasure out of it. Gently make them understand how painful it must be for the butterfly to have its wings pierced or how terrifying it would be for the dog to find a live cracker on its tail.

Show your kids the good things happening in your neighborhood and the good people who are helping others. Every now and then, cut out newspaper articles that highlight kind acts and positive stories and read them out to the children.

If your child is helping you fold clothes or set the table or hang clothes out to dry and doesn’t do a good job of it, be gentle and demonstrate the right way to it. Don’t be too critical of their efforts to help you. Yelling at them will lead to them feeling incompetent and clumsy. At first, they may make mistakes, but they can learn and grow better at it. By appreciating their help, you are telling them how they make a difference at home. When they step out into the world, that feeling will goad them into doing better there too.

Teaching children to be kind to animals - parenting resources by ZenParent

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It’s most essential to be a good role model. Let old people go ahead of you in the queue. Give up your seat for a senior citizen.  Don’t be rude to others. If your own load is lighter and someone else at the supermarket is struggling with too many bags, help them to the exit. Such little things can help you practice kindness in your everyday behaviour. When your children observe this, they too will automatically inculcate kindness in their behavior.

 Be kind to your own self: It’s not just others around you who deserve kindness. You deserve it too. Modern life,with its many demands on our time, juggling several things at once can take its toll on us. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Give yourself a break.

Sign up for charity events. Helping others is in a way helping yourself too. If you live in a city that hosts a Secret Santa event, you can enroll in one. Become a volunteer. If you’re short on time to commute to a volunteering event or activity, be a digital or remote volunteer. Login to your computer and look out for digital volunteering opportunities.

Once in a while, chill out totally with yourself. Grab some me time. Unwind. Eat your favourite food, watch your favoruite show/movie, or curl up with that book you’ve been putting off to read. Often buy flowers for others? Buy some for yourself too! Been working too hard? Go get a massage or spa. Go window shopping.

Learn a new hobby that you never thought you would. Giving yourself the benefit of doubt, and the time to learn is also an act of self-kindness. When you are kind to yourself, you’ll see kindness shines through and your children will pick it up just fine.

 teach kid to be very kind to others - Parenting resources by ZenParent

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 November 13 is World Kindness Day. Let’s strive to spread more kindness!

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