Even if hair pulling, stealing toys from friends and monster temper tantrums are normal in your house, there's still hope for encouraging kindness in your preschooler. Before you resign yourself to being "that parent" with the child that just can't get the hang of kindness and generosity, focus on adding kindness activities into the routine. With a little time, your preschooler may surprise you with his manners and kindness.
Random Acts of Kindness
Getting your preschooler directly involved in doing kind things for others actively teaches him about the concept. When you're out and about with your child, go out of your way to do kind things for others. Things like holding the door for a stranger, picking up an object that someone dropped, or saying "hi" with a smile to people you meet are simple ways to spread kindness. More involved acts of kindness allow you to get your child more involved. For example, you might bake cookies for a neighbor without a family or clean up trash in the neighborhood. Talk to your preschooler about the acts to reinforce the idea of helping out others without expecting anything in return.
A place to write down all the acts of kindness you do and see makes your preschooler think more about it. As a family, decorate a large mason jar. Place scraps of paper and a pen or marker next to the jar so everyone in the family can write down kind things they've done during the day or things others have done for them. Preschoolers can either ask a parent to help with the writing or draw a picture to show the kindness act. All of the papers go into the mason jar. When you want to focus on being kind, sit down together and read through the papers.
Even if your preschooler understands the idea of being kind, some situations make it difficult to act with kindness. For example, if another preschool friend takes away something your child is playing with, he may naturally react with anger. Using stories and role playing at home gives your preschooler a chance to practice those situations to learn kind responses. Tell a story using a situation your preschooler might find himself in, such as a fellow preschooler who is being left out of a game. Ask your child how he could show kindness in the situation. To turn the activity into a game, act out the situation with him.
A family charity project is an organized way to demonstrate kindness to others. Preschoolers can lend a hand in many different ways. Help him sort through his old toys and clothes to donate to a local organization. A family volunteer day at a local nursing home boosts the spirits of the residents and gives you a chance to talk about being kind to those who are lonely. If your preschooler likes animals, making homemade dog treats and visiting animals at a shelter shows that kindness extends beyond just humans.