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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How can I teach my preschooler to be kind to others?

    What are the best ways to teach a preschooler (age 4-5) to be nice to others?
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    Thanks

    Rachel Tosh

    Speech Pathologist

    Rachel is a speech pathologist specialising in speech, language, literacy and feeding therapy with more than 10 years of experience. Her aim is to help … View Profile

    For children who are still struggling with this despite lots of positive modelling and reinforcement I find it can be useful to write a simple “social story” about your child being kind to others with photos of the child doing those things. For example, “My name is John. I can be a good friend. Part of being a good friend is being kind to others. I can be kind to others by sharing my toys with them. I can be kind to others by waiting my turn for the swing. I can be kind to others by helping them when they are hurt…(etc)…Being kind makes other people happy. Being kind makes me happy too. I love being kind to others!” Once you have written the story (with your child actively involved of course!) read the story together, encourage your child to “read” the story too by talking about what kind things he/she is doing in the pictures. Then when a social opportunity arises (eg the chance to say sorry to someone or share) prompt your child with the words from the book. “John, look that boy is sad, you can be kind and help him rebuild his tower. You can be kind, then you will both feel happy.” The nice thing about approaching it this way is that it empowers your child by using the positive declaration “You can…” rather than creating doubt with “can you?” or “why don't you?”. Some children naturally notice others and some children don't - if it doesn't come naturally then they need a bit of extra modelling and explanation of what is expected. It also helps for many children to explain what is in it for them - a good feeling, more friends etc. too.

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