Children want to be kind and helpful, but sometimes acts of kindness don’t come easy for children on the spectrum. It is important for you to set a good example for your child with autism, on how important it is to be kind to themselves and to others.
Here are some ways in which we feel your child with autism can learn acts of kindness from you:
1. Be a Good Role Model – When you say or do unkind things to other people your child with autism will learn to follow your example. Children pick these behaviors up quickly and learn that treating someone unfairly, demanding something from someone or calling someone names is acceptable behavior. Be a good role model to your child and always say kind things about yourself and others.
2. Read Stories of Kindness – Read stories about kindness and respect are also a great way to teach your child with autism that good things come to those to do good for others. It is also important to discuss how being kind makes the characters feel and to role play situations that appear in the stories. IT is also great to talk to your child about events in these stories and ask them what kind things they can think of doing if they were put in these situations and how they would want others to treat them.
3. Practice Acts of Kindness – Teach your child on the spectrum to help others, whether it be helping you clean around the house, or a neighbor carry something, or a friend with a project etc., teaching them to offer their help is a very important part of learning to be kind to others.
4. Be Kind to Yourself – Talk to your child with autism about what makes them happy and what they like to do, and make sure to set aside time for them to participate in activities they love. By doing show it will make them feel better about themselves, make them happy and decrease stress. When children are less stressed and happy, there is a better likelihood that they will help others achieve a sense of happiness.
5. Be Charitable – talk to your child with autism about how they can help on a large scale. Teach them about specific organizations and charities that fall into line with their interests. Explain to them the importance of helping others who can’t help themselves and explore the idea of volunteering for a charity or charity event/ This will teach your child that even a small amount of time and energy makes a big difference.
Being kind to yourself and others is an important part of living a happy and productive life. Modeling acts of kindness no matter how big or small and practicing kindness can help your child with autism to be humble, helpful and happy.