Teach your child self-kindness—5 simple ways.

Updated: Nov 9


by: Kelsey Watkins


As an adult, our days can feel like whirlwinds of tasks that need to be completed. There seem to be few moments for us to enjoy peace of mind. It’s safe to assume that many children feel the exact same way.



1. Help Children with Mindfulness


We can help our children slow down and find peace of mind through ‘mindfulness.’ One simple way is to ask them to pause in moments that seem to be rushed, and instead focus on the present with gratitude. Guide them through taking a deep breath. When done with intention, mindfulness can really calm the body and help a child remember the important things in life.


2. Ban the Name Calling and Putdowns


Growing up, I remember being called a “reedge” by my brother. This word was a completely made up word. It shouldn’t have had any weight behind it, but it really hurt nonetheless.

In order to stop the fights from the name calling, my mother banned the word, “reedge” in our household. It helped my brother and me to know there were boundaries with what we were allowed to call each other.

What if we had boundaries with the mean names we call ourselves? Model positive self-talk. It is a good reminder for our children that we need boundaries from being overly harsh or critical of ourselves.


3. Teach that Social Media isn’t Always the Truth


Remind your child that social media influencers only post exactly what they want you to see online. We don’t get to see the full picture. They don’t display their hard days or their failures or their insecurities because they don’t have to. This doesn’t mean that they don’t have them or that their lives are so much better.


If we teach our children the difference between virtual reality and actual reality, they can understand even their favorite YouTuber has bad days too and be more patient with their own.


4. Turn Negative Thoughts into Kind Thoughts


Help your child exercise kind thoughts by reminding them of things that we like about them daily. This doesn’t mean we compliment their appearance or accomplishments, but rather who they truly are as a person. Some examples include compliments such as: “I love how thoughtful you are,” “You are such a great friend,” or “I’m amazed at how good of a listener you are.”


If you notice your child having frequent negative thoughts about themselves, help them “Think Again,” by practicing a self-compassionate response. Click here for a free role play you can do with your child.


To encourage daily positive thinking, try this fun idea: Place colorful dry erase markers near your child's bathroom mirror. Every day, write a kind word or compliment and encourage your child to do it too!



5. Practice Service


It’s hard to admit, but sometimes when we are down on ourselves, it’s because we are too self-absorbed.

When I was in high school, I remember complaining to my mom about all the things in my life that were going completely wrong and felt really hard. She suggested I look for someone I could do service for. I was surprised by this suggestion, but decided to give it a shot. In the act of serving my friend, my mind was completely taken off of myself. I was able to stop being so hard on myself and hateful about life even for a moment while I was thinking of others.


Teaching our children self-love will benefit them their entire lives. With self-love comes confidence, kindness and hope. You as a parent can model mindfulness, gratitude, positivity and service and help your child practice them as well.


White Ribbon Week helps children make conscious and positive choices in media and technology. In White Ribbon Week’s new school program, “Brain Power” children learn how to calm worry and anxiety with mindfulness and self-kindness. Take a look at more concepts of Brain Power here: https://www.whiteribbonweek.org/brainpower



Kelsey Watkins is an intern at White Ribbon Week. She’s a senior at Brigham Young University Idaho, getting her bachelor’s degree in Marriage and Family Studies. She has a passion for art, writing, and her family. She seeks to help others find happiness and strength within their own families. Kelsey is living in Laie, Hawaii with her husband and son.



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