“How to Be Happy”
“How to Get What You Want”
Today, kids are bombarded with self-centered messages. They’re taught to focus on themselves and creating a world in which they can do anything they want and be anything they want to be. While there’s no harm in helping children build a healthy self-esteem, children also need to be taught to think beyond themselves.
During the holiday season, which often focuses on giving, and throughout the year, you can take some time to help kids learn to think of others before themselves.
Read about Kindness, Cooperation, and Goodwill
One of the best ways to teach children about any character trait is to read stories about it. The story of Stone Soup tells the story of a village where people didn’t like to share, but soon learn to think beyond themselves and focus on the greater good. In the story The Star-Money, a young girl is willing to give all she has to help those in need and she is richly blessed because of it. Through stories like these, kids will begin to understand why it’s important to think beyond themselves and focus on others.
Talk About How Others are Doing
Model putting others first by taking time to ask others how they’re doing while your children are in hearing distance. Talk with your kids about how others are doing to. Ask them about their friends, their teachers, and others they interact with on a regular basis If kids don’t have any information, encourage them to talk to those people and get to know them better. Even finding out someone’s favorite color or candy bar can be a good way to get kids to start thinking about other people.
Do Things for Others
During the holiday season, many families like to perform random acts of kindness. You can also do this with your kids during the holidays or year-round. Look for opportunities to contribute to charity drives, help out friends in need, or to meet a need in your child’s school or community. Some small activities you can do with kids include:
- give a card to someone you know
- pay for someone’s meal at a restaurant
- bring someone a cup of coffee or hot cocoa on a cold day
- bring someone a bottle of water on a hot day
- take a meal or treats to a police station or fire station
- call someone just to say you’re thinking about him/her
- do yard work or gardening for someone
- leave change by a vending machine
- donate clothes or toys you don’t need
- write a poem for someone
It doesn’t take a lot of time, money, or effort to get kids to look beyond themselves and put others first. If you start them young, you’ll begin to shape kids who will turn into kind, compassionate adults.