14 Little Ways to Encourage Kindness

Look on the Bright Side

Give your kids rose-colored glasses.

Sometimes, it can seem as if bad news is all around us. Point out to your kids the good things that are happening and the good people who are helping others. Cut out newspaper articles about student groups who volunteered to build homes or collect clothes after a natural disaster. This makes your kids feel better about the world they live in and also gets them thinking creatively about ways they can make a difference.

Don't criticize their efforts.

Yes, you can get the wet towels off the floor faster, sort the laundry better, and pour the milk without spilling it, but if you take over (or critique too much) it leaves your little helpers feeling inept, unskilled -- and less likely to offer their services again. If you're impatient, you can turn a teachable moment into a missed opportunity. "Kids want to help cook dinner, wash the car, and do the dishes, and, sure, they'll do it slowly and imperfectly at first," says Dr. Schonfeld. You're teaching them that they can make a difference at home. Just imagine how good they'll feel when they step out into the world.

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