The One Rule of Kindness I Want My Kids to Learn

Do you have any rules about kindness in your house? 

When it comes to kindness, there’s really only one rule I want my children to learn this year.

It’s not a game if everyone’s not having fun.

It seems kind of simplistic but you would be surprised how many squabbles it applies to. Knowing how to play comes pretty easily to most kids, but they don’t always have the ability to realise when the game isn’t fun anymore.

And learning when to say ‘when’ is, well, pretty important.

We just spent a glorious weekend camping with good friends. On Sunday, when we were packing up our campsite, there were six kids (under six) playing in a pile of Esky ice. The game, of course, consisted almost purely of ice-in-shirts – there was shrieking and laughing and slipping over on the pile; it was cute, and hilarious to watch.

Until one of the kids wasn’t having fun anymore and the laughing turned to tears.

Of course, the other kids were so engrossed that the game didn’t just instantly stop at this point.

It took an adult (it may have been me) to point out that yes it was a fun game, but it stopped being a game the moment someone wasn’t having fun anymore.

It really got me thinking about how many social issues we could tackle if we taught adults to play by this rule too. Issues like consent, discrimination, antisocial behaviour and bullying (not to mention their justifications) could all be addressed by this one simple principle.

I really hope my children grow into adults who play by this rule.

Words Barbara O’Reilly