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Activities That Teach Kids to Love Others

by Kathryn Rateliff Barr

If everyone treated others with love, it would certainly make the world a nicer place to live. You can do your part by teaching your kids to treat others with love. Kids might be confused about how to demonstrate love if they associate the word with an emotion rather than acts of kindness, consideration, respect and compassion. Encourage your child to participate in loving actions every day.

The Golden Rule

Following the Golden Rule is one way your child shows love to others. Some individuals associate the Golden Rule with Christianity, but many faiths believe that you should treat others as you want to be treated. Adapt the rule by having your child consider how a sibling, classmate or stranger wants to be treated. Also consider ways not to annoy others as an extension of the Golden Rule. Present scenarios, such as a homeless man on the street, a child without toys or friends in a room full of toys and a sibling who doesn’t feel well. Help your child brainstorm ways to respond or role-play what he might do.

Random Acts of Kindness

You can show love by helping others. Encourage your child to look for ways to serve others without having to be asked. She could bring in the mail for an elderly or infirmed neighbor, do chores for a sick sibling, collect cans for a food bank. Help her build a collage of pictures that show loving acts or make a list of actions she can do. Give her a diary to record random acts of kindness she performs and those she receives from others. She is likely to see that when she treats others with love it comes back to her.

Paying It Forward

The concept of “paying it forward” refers to doing something for someone else because someone did something nice for you. Help your child examine the previous week for ways that someone helped him, such as loaning him a pencil when he forgot to bring his or giving him a ride so he didn’t have to walk. Explain, “Each of these acts demonstrates love. You pay it forward by doing something for the next person you meet whose need you can fulfill. Your child could donate gently used toys or clothing to a shelter, make sandwiches to hand out at a homeless shelter or walk a neighbor’s dog. After each loving action, suggest, “If the person thanks you and asks how they can pay you, suggest they pay it forward instead.”

Appropriate Affection

Physical affection can communicate love, but hugs and kisses aren’t for everyone. Help you child learn when and to whom loving gestures are appropriate. He can kiss family members, but kissing friends or strangers is inappropriate. Help her make a collage or list of people that she can appropriately kiss, hug, hold hands with and high five. She can see that the circles get larger when the contact is less intimate. Also discuss and role-play ways to respectfully and lovingly refuse inappropriate physical affection.

About the Author

Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.

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