Life Times Newsletter

July/August 2003
Vol. 5, No.4

Teaching children how to treat others

One true fact about parenting is that children learn best by example. Since children learn constantly from the words and actions of adults around them, there are many actions that we, as parents, can do to promote kindness and empathy in children.

The following are a few of the many ways we can set good examples for children to learn how to treat others:

• Help an elderly neighbor with chores

• Give canned goods to a food bank

• Let someone else go in front of you at the checkout line

• Arrive on time to work, worship services or meetings

• Say "please" and "thank you"

• Obey speed limits

• Hang up your coat

• Return the shopping cart to the cart corral

• Make your bed in the morning

• Open the door for others

• Be courteous to everyone

• Vote

• Put away your toys—whatever they are

• Smile

• Give someone else your chair in a crowded room

• Choose healthy snacks

• Express appreciation for kind behavior

Albert Schweitzer, the great humanitarian, suggests that adults teach children in three important ways: The first is by example. The second is by example. The third is by example.

Children are born with the capacity to act kindly toward others. Those who experience respect and appreciation from adults are more likely to demonstrate caring toward others and to recognize the positive impact of their kindness. Thus, adults play an important role in whether or not children continue to act in kind and caring ways.

The bottom line is that if parents act warm and supportive, set reasonable standards of behavior and consistently enforce them, they are more likely to encourage kind and compassionate behavior in children.

Source: University of Missouri Outreach and Extension guidesheet #GH6126, Raising Kind Children. 
For more information, request this guidesheet from your local
Extension office, or 

Maudie Kelly, MS
Human Development Specialist

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University of Missouri Extension Editor: Roxanne T. Miller