Have courage and be kind.” Cinderella repeats these final words from her mother frequently throughout Disney’s latest version of the classic fairy tale. This is not surprising for a tale that seeks so deliberately to demonstrate the difference between kindness and cruelty and the ultimate consequences of both.
Even if you cringe at elements of the old tales – is the portrayal of the damsel in distress rescued by her Prince Charming still relevant? – it is hard to argue with “have courage and be kind”.
And before you get on your high horse, note that a study by a psychiatrists at Harvard University found that 80% of the kids in the study said that their parents were more concerned with their kids own happiness and achievement than thinking about others.
This tells us we might all have something to learn from the tale of Cinderella. Here are some ways you can teach your children to be kind:
— Tell them to be kind and why: Whilst kids are inherently helpful and kind, you want to nurture that and the best place to start is talking about how important it is to be kind.
— Make them practice being kind: Like anything in life, practice makes perfect. Work with them to find kind words when they trip up on the first go. Encourage them to be find ways to be kind to siblings and reward them for their efforts.
— Help your kids navigate negative feelings: Everyone will be faced with negative feelings, including negative thoughts towards others. Help your kids work through these feelings by looking for positives or taking a step back and counting to 10 before giving an angry answer.
— LEAD BY EXAMPLE: The single most important thing you can do is be kind yourself. Remember that you are the single most influential teacher for your children.
Find more information about teaching your children to be kind online.
Although we cannot magically produce helpers like Cinderella’s fairy godmother, we come pretty close by connecting you to caregivers in your area. Check it out today. And remember… have courage and be kind!