When I was pregnant with my second daughter, and quickly approaching the season of life known as “2 under 2” I was given plenty of “advice”. I was told things like…
Um… Thank you??
I’d often be in tears while talking with my husband about the things people would say to me and then, I gave up listening to the “advice” of the people who seemed feel as though the relationship of my two children would be strained from birth.
Why am I going to let other people’s opinions shape my expectations of how my two children would treat each other?
Didn’t God give these girls to MY husband and I to raise?
So, when our Zuzu-bug was born I made a conscious effort to guide their friendship, and help them to learn from a young age to work things out together and no matter what, to always love and support one another!
Do I have two perfect daughters who never fight or disagree?
No, I don’t.
Do I have two girls who love each other fiercely?
So how did I encourage kindness with my girls?
Our children are like sponges. Literally, EVERYthing we do, they see. For example, my husband has a cough and is in the practice of coughing into his elbow. What did our 1-year-old start doing when she developed a cough?
Yep. She’s coughing into her elbow like a little grown up.
If we want our children to be kind and respectful, we need to check ourselves and be sure WE are being kind and respectful to our spouse, our children, and those we come into contact with.
2. Define it.
Children look to adults to learn the meaning of words, it’s so important that we help them understand the meaning. If I want my children to “show kindness” I better be willing to give them concrete examples in their daily life.
For instance, we can say things like thank you for helping your sister clean up the toys, that was very kind of you.
Any time you catch your child doing something nice or kind for someone else, TELL them!
There is always a Reason to BE KIND.
Let’s get real for a moment, shall we?
Do my children constantly show kindness? No, again. They are young toddlers. However, there are moments when they surprise you. Like the time at Disney when my oldest who was two at the time ran ahead as she saw two employees emptying a garbage can. She stopped, sang the cleanup song (from Barney) and said “thank you for cleaning” The smile on the cast-members face melted my heart and in that moment I knew we were on the right track!