Childhood Expert Advice: What it Takes to Raise Kind KidsBy Audri Taylors, UniversityHerald Reporter
According to Dr. Tovah Klein, the author of How Toddlers Thrive and the Director of the Barnard Center for Toddler Development, raising kind and compassionate kids begin with the examples that parents set for them.
"Children learn kindness and compassion from us," she said.
This is especially true when children are going through tough times. When parents scold or criticize them, it impacts the child's behavior and influences them to emulate or follow the same. On the other hand, if the parents show compassion and patience with the way they treat their kids, it would set them a good example.
Children do not only look at the way their parents treat them, but they unconsciously observe how the adults interact and treat other people.
" If you're kind to the store clerk, if you're kind to the people in the restaurant, service people, in New York the doorman, whoever the people are who help us, your child learns this is how you treat people," said Dr. Klein.
Parents need not tell their kids everything that they have to do, from good manners and kind words, these things can be learned by kids from mimicking their parents' actions.
"It's a great moment when you see your child being kind or polite or greeting people appropriately," she said. "Two and three and four-year-olds don't do that, but they get there eventually."
For toddlers, Dr. Klein says acts of kindness isn't something that can be constantly expected and observed, because at this age when they are still in the stage of development, toddlers still have the tendency to be selfish.
"Toddlers do have that in them, but they're also figuring out who they are, and that has to come first," she said.