a child smiling and holding their teddy bear


These Days, I Think It’s Especially Important To Teach My Child Kindness

Oct 1, 2020

The other day as I walked down the street, I was visibly emotional. I have felt very overwhelmed trying to navigate the happenings of the world. As I walked a little further I was taken aback when I heard a voice say, "I’m sorry to bother you, but are you OK?" 

We're all going through challenging times, but the act of this person, taking a moment to speak to me and to listen to what I had to say, changed the way I felt. Her kind words made me think that there is some light in this world and better days could be coming.

I think we can all agree that we need more kindness. Kindness leads to more compassion and more empathy. And by incorporating kindness into my son's daily routines, I'm hoping I can teach him to be like the woman who stopped me on the street.

When I'm out for a walk with my son and he smiles at a stranger or waves hello, they mirror his actions — they always smile back and wave. I never force him to smile at strangers, but when it happens the kindness is contagious. It’s easy to forget how far those little acts can go. Especially in our current climate when you never know what a stranger might be going through.

Looking for a craft that will also brighten up the neighbourhood? Try these kindness rocks.

Practising Kindness

I try to practice little acts of kindness with my family when possible; just simple tasks that are easy to complete. It could be saying hello to a neighbour, calling a cousin who lives far away or connecting with a friend we haven’t seen in months. Things at home could be as easy as getting my son to help with household chores, listening to his stories or sharing a snack together.

"It’s easy to forget how far those little acts [of kindness] can go.
Especially in our current climate when you never know what a stranger might be going through."

These are uncomplicated tasks that we’ve incorporated into our daily routine to try to help brighten someone else’s day.

And these little things add up. I feel inspired when someone supports me and I can tell my son feels the same way. When he does something kind like using nice words, taking initiative in tidying up his toys or trying to cheer up a friend, I make sure to tell him that I’m proud of him. By sharing my feelings with him, I hope to encourage him to stay friendly and be thoughtful with his actions.

Kindness Builds Character

Being kind shows my son there's more to life than just checking off boxes. I try to teach my son that in celebrating someone’s differences, you are celebrating yourself — so it’s important to have an open mind. Children don’t really think of how their actions will have long-term effects, they just do things because they want to. But if my son gets into a disagreement with a friend, or with me, I try to take a moment to ask him, "What happened?" When we're able to pause for a minute, and look at the situation from another perspective, that can make all the difference.

Sometimes, as parents, we can become focused on our children succeeding in school, sports or other extracurricular activities. But what I've learned is these achievements don’t tell you how your child treats other kids. I want my son to be proud of his accomplishments, and for him to feel pleased knowing he put the hard work into a presentation, or that his team won their soccer game. But I would much rather he be the second- or third-best player if he was the one to give his teammates a chance to score a goal.

This mom found her son was holding her accountable for being kind, and it inspired her to practise more kindness daily. Read her story here.

Kindness Is Giving Someone A Chance

I think about this all the time. When I have conversations with friends, am I giving them the chance to speak? Am I really listening? When I go about my day, could I do more to help others? And now that I'm a parent, I also wonder about the chances practising kindness could give my son — will it mean he may be equipped with the tools he needs when he is out in the world?

At the end of the day, I know I must lead by example. If I want my son to be kind, I must be kind as well. So I do my best — using my manners, helping those who need it, making an effort to be someone who's there for another. And I do my best to teach him to be kind, generous, friendly and helpful — and how his kindness can inspire others to be the same. 

I guess that's why they say, "A little bit of kindness goes a long way." 

Article Author Vanessa Magic
Vanessa Magic

Vanessa Magic is a writer, award-winning costume designer and musician. She loves making up magical stories and singing songs to her adorable four-year-old son. When she is not in mama mode, she facilitates workshops with Inclusive Stylist Toronto, an initiative she co-founded that encourages inclusivity within the film industry for costume design and wardrobe styling. Currently, she is a participant in the BIPOC Film and TV Kids writing workshop where she is developing an afro-futurist science-based show.

Add New Comment

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Submission Policy

Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines.