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  • Writer's pictureHannah's Hope

Teach them to be kind.

Joanna Goddard is a writer, editor, mother, and creator of the site Cup of Jo, where she, and the other team members at the site, write about style, design, food, relationships, travel, and motherhood. There is a plethora of "good stuff" on her site, but let's focus on one article that she wrote for the motherhood section of the site. Goddard wrote, "How to Raise Kind Children" back in October of 2019, but the overall message and the tips are helpful to any parent today with children of all walks of life. She says in the introduction to her article that raising kind children is something she gets asked about a lot and it's a big topic of conversation amongst parents she knows, so she lists six things that she has learned and finds helpful. The first thing she lists is to talk about things openly and honestly. Parents should be a safe landing for their children. Try and talk about big subjects at a time when your child feels most comfortable and they feel as if they can bring up anything; bedtime is a good time for this. Next, encourage them to be helpers. Kids are capable of doing a lot more tasks and chores than we give them credit for or allow them the chance to do. So, ask your child to help with small tasks like dishes or picking up trash or toys that are lying around to encourage them to want to help and lend a hand when they have the chance. Another tip she lists is to model empathy, meaning that you can instill the mindset in your child that they should be kind to all people they encounter because everyone is fighting some sort of difficult battle. Display compassion toward others and demonstrate a gracious and understanding attitude toward the struggles that everyone may be facing. Try to also teach consent to ensure that your children understands how to respect themselves and others. Teach them this: "You are the boss of your own body," to let them know that they determine what happens to their body and the choices that are made about their body, and the same can be said of their peers or siblings. Another tip that may be obvious to some people is to read books. There are a ton of great books out there that are not entirely academic, but rather entertaining and funny and teach on the subject of being kind and demonstrating or retrieving acceptance; Goddard includes links to some of her favorites in her article. Keeping a diverse collection of books at home will inspire conversation and keep your child's mind growing. The last tip in the article is one that should be self-explanatory; accept them wholeheartedly. Accept every wild and wacky idea, thought, or expression that your child has with open arms and really let their personalities develop and shine. Underneath the article on the website there is a list of comments from other parents in this blog's community who share some of their practices, tips, and mantras that they use(d) when raising their child and teaching them to be kind. This list of comments and the article from Goddard are useful for parents of any type of child and any type of parent; the goal is to just raise a child who is pleasant and kind to others and to you.

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