It is normal for kids to be primal and self centred as they usually have their own needs as their primary concern. In fact there are lots of adults who still have not grown out of it ! LOL. As they grow and develop in a loving family, it’s up to the parents to teach values such as giving, kindness and caring.
When we teach these as parents we try to avoid telling kids they are bad when they are only looking out for themselves because they are not. Instead just direct them to the behaviour you wish them to display e.g. When they grab the last 2 cookies in the jar " Do you think you can share that with your sister"? or "May I please have one and you can have the other"?
Several ways come to mind. We can role model this value. Kids observe how mum and dad treat each other, how we treat our neighbours e.g. my mum used to share our food with an old man next door who had no family, there in was my desire as an adult to care for others from this first memory, give your seat on the MRT or bus to an elderly or disabled person etc. When you do, tell your child "Sometimes others need the seat more than we do".
- Find ways to model giving and your child will learn quickly. Reinforce this by telling them why you are doing it.
- Story books! Find stories where kindness is the value and moral of the story. Read together and discuss with your child e.g. "Did you think the boy was kind in this story"? "Would you do the same if it were you"? This discussion will plant seeds of kindness and giving. I used to create stories for my kids and nieces and nephews, you can to!
- Pets: Kids are so used to being looked after, pets allow them to look out for someone else. I got my boys Goldfish in a small pond as we could not afford a dog or cat due to vet costs. They would wash the bowl out once a week, feed them twice a day etc. It was their responsibility and they loved it! Crazy crabs, mini turtles, pot plants are other things that can instill care for something outside themselves.
- Volunteer to visit an elderly neighbour, let them partake in baking cupcakes to take to them or some other local dish. "Let’s visit Uncle Tan who has no family and let’s make him something this saturday, what do you think"? Such a good way to teach kids that they are not the centre of the universe all the time!
- Do something special and small for their maid once a week. It may be singing a song, or helping to make her a cup of tea, or drawing her a picture as an appreciation for her care all through the week.
- Movies that instill themes of giving, kindness is yet another way! Provided you pause the movie after 20 minutes and talk about some of things in the movie.
- Find opportunities to get kids to help you out, even if you have a maid helping you with the shopping. Let them carry a small shopping bag home after grocery shopping, help wash the car, tidy their toys, dust out a book shelf etc. There is great value in what may seem like a small task but it for the whole family and not just for themselves. Tell them what a good job they have done after the task is done.
Hope this helps your kids learn heaps from your guidance!!