Use your words.
Saying things like “please” and “thank you” might be the simplest way to show gratitude and kindness. Remember to say it loud and proud: to the mail carrier, the server, the school administrator, and most especially each other.
Pay it forward.
Take the time to acknowledge the nice things that others do for you so that your children can see kindness in action. Use those acts of kindness as the inspiration to pay that kindness forward by paying for the coffee for the patron behind you, complimenting others, or giving words of encouragement to another parent on the playground can change a person’s day for the better.
Ask and listen.
When you ask someone how their day is, really listen to their words. One of the greatest acts of compassion we can show others is to make them feel heard. Whether that is in your daily business transactions, conversations with kids around the dinner table, or with your partner, practice active, non-distracted listening.
Check your judgment.
At one time or another, everyone has judged someone else wrongfully or engaged in gossip. Take the time to acknowledge when those moments occur, and remember your kids are watching. If they have questions, for example, about a person you’ve passed that may be without a home, be thoughtful and compassionate in your answers. This applies to the playground, too! When one of their friends doesn’t want to share or excludes others from play, remind your kids that everyone has bad days.
Be kind to yourself.
One of the most important places to model kindness for your children is toward yourself. Parents and caregivers judge themselves more harshly than anyone else ever could. Whether breakfast came from a drive-thru for the third day in a row or you forgot to wash their lucky socks before baseball practice, be kind and compassionate to yourself: you’re doing your best!
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