Thursday, August 16, 2012

Guest Post: Ways of Teaching Kids How To Not Be Selfish


Everyone wants to raise children who are unselfish. As parents, the best way to teach this to your children is to not be selfish yourself. Kids live what they learn and are they tend to copycat what parents do. Being a model for the way you want them to behave is the best way to show them what your expectations are. Encourage your children to be friendly and kind to others and give them opportunities to help and serve others when they can.

Sharing
Sharing is something we have to teach our toddlers to do without pushing them too hard. Slowly introduce what it means to take turns with someone else and praise their efforts every time. Every rock or pebble your baby hands to you is a chance to let them see that this is giving and pleasing. When kids play together, a timer can be used for special toys to share. Offer a special treat or just a hug or kiss when they show good behavior by sharing and being kind. When your child visits a friend, let them bring a favorite toy. Sharing is critical for children to learn, but it’s also important that they have an item on their own they don’t have to share. A special stuffed animal or blanket that can always be theirs is good to have.

Empathy
Teach your children to be kind. This is just as important as it is to share and be kind. Kids are pretty selfish until they see that there is something in it for them. Let them feel how good it feels to care for someone by watching your behavior and the way you show love. Take time out to hug your child. Take time to look into their little eyes. The housework and bills can wait. When you take the time to acknowledge your child, they will be the same way with others.

Giving
Giving is fun and easy to do. There’s a good rule called the In –N-Out rule. Whenever your child gets something new like a toy or clothing, they pick something to give to someone else. You can donate that thing to charity and make sure your child knows who it is going to, where they are, and why. Give the gift of time. Find time for the family to serve somehow in your community where your children can watch and see what you are doing. Churches, homeless shelters or community recreation centers and parks are a great place to start. Take them to a children’s shelter and let them play with other kids while you donate your time cleaning and cooking for families. This will show them that you are doing kind things for others.

Responsibility
When you help a child become responsible they will see that they aren’t the center of the world. Giving your child some chores around the home instills the value of working to benefit everyone. Let your children help with mealtime preparation. Just setting the table or putting napkins out will help. Give a child the responsibility to care for a family pet and they learn about unselfish behavior. If the puppy cries to go outside, let your take him out even if they are right in the middle of a game.

It’s pretty easy to teach kids not to be selfish. Show and practice kindness and they will copy that behavior. Encourage, praise and guide them along the way for their efforts. Your children will be sweeter and kinder. Always teach your child to acknowledge things others do for them or the gifts they receive. Have them go further than just saying thank you. Have them write that someone special a note to express their feelings. All of these things will lead to a very well behaved and non-selfish child. 

Christina Mickelson writes about parenting, personal finance & more at homeownersinsurance.org.

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