As parents and teachers, one of our greatest hopes is that our kids will be kind and good people. When they have a choice to help others, we hope they will. We never want them to be cruel, intolerant, or prejudiced.
But let's face it. It's not always easy to be kind, even for us. Even grown-ups don't want to share our toys sometimes. Helping others can seem hard when we feel like we don't have the help we need ourselves.
The good news is that kindness can be learned; just like any other behavior, it can be trained through repetition. The most dominant way children learn new behaviors is by copying those around them. Which means we adults have a powerful opportunity, and responsibility, to teach by example.
Mirror neurons are cells in the brain that wire us for imitation, and they're especially active during childhood. When kids observe an action, their brains respond as if they are performing the action themselves. Their brains form new neural pathways, and these create the basis for behaviors that stick with them throughout their lives.
Thanks to neuroplasticity, the brain's ability to adapt and change, we all have the aptitude to learn new behaviors, including becoming kinder. Kids' brains are particularly moldable, as they've had less time to solidify lifelong habits. So if you want to encourage more kindness in your kids, and in the world, here are some fun things you can do: