By Chrisanne Grise
July 01, 2014

Are you too concerned about your child's grades? I was surprised by recent research that found 80 percent of kids think their parents care more about academic and athletic achievements than kindness or other moral attributes. In a study of 10,000 young participants, children were three times as likely to agree with the following statement: "My parents are prouder if I get good grades in my classes than if I'm a caring community member."

Of course grades are important, and we want our children to aim high both in school and in day-to-day life. It's understandable that parents put a lot of focus on those areas to motivate kids. After all, if you don't push her to finish her homework and study for the test, how will it get done?

But this study comes as a good reminder that we need to emphasize the importance of being a kind person too. Your little one shouldn't have to choose just one area to excel at; he can be sweet, smart, and a great athlete all at the same time. Here are some easy ways to encourage your child to be kind:

  • Be a good role model. (Yes, you've heard it before, but it's worth repeating!) Whether it's cleaning trash off the road, collecting cans of food for a local soup kitchen, or simply complimenting a friend, your child will learn nice behavior from your example.
  • Encourage teamwork. From helping out with chores around the house to cleaning up after a play date, encourage your kids to pitch in whenever possible.
  • Practice politeness. Everyone in the family should say please and thank you--and apologize when necessary, too!
  • Talk to your children about your values. Tell them that you hope they'll focus on doing well in school and being a good person. Then you can be certain that they understand what you care about.
  • Click here for more simple ways to encourage your budding Good Samaritan.

Image: Portrait of children via Shutterstock


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