Saturday, March 28, 2015

Teaching Children to be Kind

As a former teacher, a common question I {TheJoyFilledWife} am often asked by other parents is how early I think children should be enrolled in preschool in order to have an academic and social advantage in the years to come. In almost every instance, parents are dumbfounded when I tell them that attending preschool is not the preparatory step that will launch their children into educational and social success. Most children, whether they attend preschool or not, are on academically similar levels once they enter Kindergarten age. To be honest, the children I’ve seen with the academic and social advantages over the years are the those who spend the most quality time with their parents and family members reading books, using their imaginations, learning to serve, and having meaningful conversations. These experiences build confidence, impart wisdom, and increase a child’s mental and emotional capacity. Emphasize Bible teaching, listen to lots of music, and incorporate plenty of physical play time, and you will almost assuredly see a marked difference in a child’s capacity and performance.

For those of you who are pondering ways to provide your children with meaningful social interactions that will help build confidence and social skills, it should bring you a sigh of relief to know that there doesn’t have to be any formality to your child’s training in order for it to be effective. When I’m out with my children and other adults ask me how my kids are so friendly and able to carry on intelligent conversations with adults, it’s not because they have naturally social personalities or because they’ve taken any courses in conversing. It’s simply the byproduct of intentionally using our day to day errands and interactions to engage with others, ask questions, have meaningful conversations, and make an effort to brighten the day of whomever we come into contact with. Our children know that each of us is a walking example of Christ’s forgiveness and love and we strive to emulate that to each person God puts in our path throughout the day.

My husband and I do not allow our children to act shy, ignore, or be unresponsive to those around them.  Each person we come into contact with is deserving of a pleasant smile, a thoughtful answer, or a sincere compliment. Just like any habit we develop, it doesn’t always come easy at first, but we soon find it enjoyable as we see how even the smallest acts of kindness can make a big difference to a world full of hurting people who long to know that their life truly matters to someone. What an opportunity we have as parents and believers in Christ to help our precious children cultivate a heart for others and come to see the value in each and every person we meet!

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Colossians 3:12
picture source