lil'bee

Raising kind kids

Parenting Styles   |   Age: 10 months 1 week


article_14060.jpg

Raising kind kids

It’s hard to say what your baby’s personality will be like as she grows up - it’s probably a pretty safe bet that dropping things on the floor won’t be her favorite activity forever, but it’s also hard to say what she’s going to replace it with. So whether your baby moves into a dinosaur phase next or discovers exactly how fascinating dress-up can be, one of the things most parents find themselves hoping for is that she will be a nice person - at the very least, a little niceness will make her teen years significantly easier on you.

Kindness doesn’t come out of nowhere, though. Just like how if you want your baby to be able to read, someone is probably going to have to teach her, or at least give her the tools to teach herself, the best way to help foster your baby's future kindness is to help her work toward it.

Show her what kindness means

Babies aren’t born understanding how to treat others the way they want to be treated - in fact, for a significant chunk of their first year of life, they’re not totally sure they’re individuals who are separate from their parents, and without an understanding of what other people are, it’s tricky for your baby to have any conception of their feelings. Even after she starts to differentiate herself from her favorite people in the world, she doesn’t start out with an understanding of her own feelings, let alone what effect she might have on anyone else. When she does start to understand other people’s feelings, though, and either react to them or not, one of the biggest ingredients that goes into the way she acts is the example you set. Just like when she is learning to talk and learning to walk, when it comes to being nice, the first things your baby learns will come from you.

This means, for example, that if you listen patiently when she talks about her interests and concerns, even when she doesn’t have actual words to express them yet, she is more likely to grow into a good listener than if you didn’t. And if she doesn’t, you’ll have a strong foundation to speak from when you have a conversation about respecting the thoughts and opinions of others.

Help your baby be aware of her own feelings

Before your baby can be considerate of the feelings of others, she has to start to figure out how to identify and deal with her own. Try to identify when your baby is frustrated or sad or upset, and talk it through with her. This starts to give her the vocabulary to talk about feelings herself. You’ll also help her start to work out how to deal with negative emotions without taking them out on others, as well as to set up the building blocks for empathy for others who are feeling the same way.

Value kindness

The Making Caring Common project is an initiative of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and it's centered around trying to promote kindness in children. They use information from the National Center for Education Statistics to assert that American children are more likely to feel like success is valued by their parents than kindness, and that 80% of them also value success more highly than kindness. The Making Caring Common project advocates putting more importance on kindness when talking to young children as a way of helping to shape their priorities in a more considerate and empathetic direction.

Talking to children about kindness probably isn’t anyone’s idea of a wild Saturday night, but it also doesn’t have to be dry or difficult for you or your baby. Early conversations about kindness can be as simple and fun as a few extra words here and there about which characters are being nice to each other in your baby’s favorite picture book. The world would be a better place if everybody was kind to each other, and it starts with your baby.


More articles at this age

Mental health benefits with Gartner


Taking care of your mental well-being is just as important as all the other things you do for your health. If you ever need to see a mental health professional, your plan makes it easier for you to do just that.

Help! My baby hates the bath


There's only so long you can go between baths before you start to get a little sticky, and if you're your baby, and your favorite hobby is rolling around on the floor, or flinging yourself into the mud, that time might be even shorter. But what's a parent to do with a little one who acts like she's allergic to soapy water?

When do babies start walking up the stairs?


Are you a hiker? Pretty soon, your baby might be too!

5 things every parent knows all too well


your baby isn't the only one who's growing every day - since she was born, you've grown and changed and learned plenty of things to feel proud of yourself for.

Talking to your child about public vs. private behavior


Not every adult is really good at figuring out public versus private, so it's not your baby's fault that she's not an expert yet. Lucky her, she's got you for a teacher!

MYOB: 6 responses to people who interfere with your parenting


"It takes a village to raise a child" can be a dangerous sentence when everyone seems to think they should be a part of your village. Anyone from your great aunt to the cashier at the grocery store may think they're telling you what's best for your baby, but that doesn't mean you have to listen.

Welcome to lil'bee!

It looks like you're using an ad blocker. That's okay. Who doesn't? But without advertising-income, we can't keep making this site awesome. Please disable your ad blocker and refresh this page.

Thanks for understanding 🙏