Healthy KidsYMCA Child Care

4 ways to teach kids about peace and kindness

01 November 2019 - by Dawn Yan

Everyone wants their children to live in peace and model kindness ⁠— but what, exactly, does that look like? And how do we teach it to them?

In honour of YMCA Peace Week, we’re sharing 4 tips to help your family get the ball rolling.

1. Have open conversations about it

Asking your child simple questions about peace and kindness can not only make them more self-aware; it will also get them thinking about the importance of being a kind and genuine peacekeeper year-round.

To begin, try asking your child what peace and kindness means to them. Together, you can also look back at all the times they chose kindness and peace over conflict. As they come up with more examples, you’ll naturally find opportunities to talk about why it’s important to be kind and how it makes them feel.

2. Practice kindness together

Everyone is capable of being kind, but it’s not always easy to choose kindness when you’re caught in a sticky situation. Work together with your little one to practice kindness whenever you can. You might even choose to turn it into a fun activity for the whole family! It could be as simple as writing a kind note to a friend or family member, baking cookies for your neighbour, or even starting a pay-it-forward initiative⁠. Any of these activities will help your child see how a little kindness can go a long way.

3. Cultivate an appreciation for diversity and model inclusion

Make it a priority as a family to learn more about your community members: indulge in children’s books or films that tell the stories of diverse communities, go to family-friendly festivals where you can learn and build relationships, or share a meal with your neighbours. After all, relationships are the gateway to understanding, belonging, and peace.

4. Lead by example

Children tend to take after adults. Whether it’s good or bad, our children often see and make a note of everything we say and do⁠ — including our reactions ⁠— and subconsciously start doing the same. So, what better way to teach our children about peace and kindness than by living it?

When children see you choose kindness over anger or bitterness, and witness you resolving conflict in a non-violent, peaceful way, they’ll be more inclined to do the same.

At the Y, we’re committed to building community — and peace is at the heart of strong, healthy communities. That’s why we honour it each fall during YMCA Peace Week, when we celebrate acts of peace and kindness in our communities. Find out what’s on the schedule this year by following us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. And be sure to tag us in all your Peace Week photos using #YMCAPeaceWeek so we can see you too!


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