Love is such a wonderful feeling when received and even more important to learn how to give it. Many kids have been hearing “I love you” from significant people in their lives, but how can we teach kids how to spread love to others? It starts with communication followed by actions.
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First, we want to make sure that kids understand how love makes them feel. Questions like, “how does it feel when mommy or daddy tell you they love you?” or “what do you love to do?” can be questions that can open conversation about love and acts of love. Once the feelings and actions of love are clear and understood, we can then teach kids simple ways to spread love to others.
Here are 5 simple ways to teach kids to spread love…any day of the year.
Random Acts of Kindness: Our daughter loves to create drawings for our next door neighbors. We taught her that the act of being kind when it is not expected makes the recipient feel good. Acts of kindness can make a bad day better and can show people that you love and care about them. Children can also understand that random acts of kindness do not have to be anything material either. We can let someone ahead of us at the grocery store or volunteer to help someone in need.
Give Compliments: Giving compliments is a great way to spread love, and it is easy too! We can start by teaching kids to give a compliment to a friend or family member. We can also teach kids that compliments can be given beyond the physical appearance. Compliments like “You played a great game, I liked that last move!” or “You are really great at math! Way to go!” can make a peer feel the love.
Make a Love Card: The written expression of love is important too. Ask your little one who they would like to make a small love note or love card for. Is it their grandma, friend, or even pet? Explain to them that they can write down and express how having that person in their life makes them feel, and then write it on paper. Even if they are small and cannot write yet, the act of the gesture is a wonderful way to teach kids how to spread love.
Love Your Community: We can also teach the act of loving their community that they live in. Teaching children to pick up trash they see, recycling items or planting a tree can help teach kids a simple way to spread love to their community. We can teach that love is not only person to person, but we can also love the place that we live in and spread love and kindness in it.
Don’t Forget the Animals! Often, people forget that animals need love too. With our busy schedules, we can often forget about our furry friends. Recently, my daughter asked if animals have feelings like we humans do. Teaching kids that animals have feelings and can feel their love is a wonderful way to teach kids to spread love.
If they already have a pet at home, show them to be extra nice to them. Giving their pet a special treat or extra cuddles could be a simple way to teach them to spread love. If there is no pet at home, a visit to the local animal shelter to see pets or giving a donation dog goodie bag could be another way to teach kids how to spread love.
Kids learn by example. As parents, caregivers, and the adults in their lives, we must not only teach them how to spread love, but also give them the love that they need to understand that emotion to pay it forward.