Encouraging Kindness

Kindness
Image from https://avrnetwork.com/blog/kindness-in-kentville/

Today I thought I would talk to you about kindness.
Encouraging kindness in our children is such a positive thing to do.
Here are some ideas of how to introduce the idea and a few activities to get you started.

What is Kindness? 
First things first. What is kindness? Brainstorm with your little ones. See what they already consider to be kind behaviour.
You may be pleasantly surprised with the outcome!

  • Being friendly
  • Being generous
  • Being considerate of others
  • Being concerned when others are upset or worried
  • Helping others
  • Doing something and not expecting something in return

How to show kindness?
You can then build on your previous list by asking your kids to suggest actions that demonstrate these points you’ve made.

  • Being friendly – Smiling , say good morning
  • Being generous – sharing
  • Being considerate of others – don’t interrupt when others are speaking, hold the door open for someone
  • Being concerned if someone is upset or worried – ask them how they are, sit with someone who is alone
  • Helping others – help someone up if they fall over, help pick up things someone has dropped

Why be kind?
What’s the point in all of this? Why should you be kind to others?
Being kind helps you to make friends.
Bullying gets reduced.
Being kind encourages others to be kind to.
You could brighten someone’s day!
Doing kind things activates the part of the brain that make you feel happy!

Activities 

I quite like the idea of creating a sort of positivity chart to stick on the wall for younger children.
Take the main points from your discussion, form a chart with them, the kids get a sticker at the end of each day for each act of kindness they manage to accomplish.
It is a great way to get the kids to tell you more about school and their friends (sometimes it is like getting blood from a stone asking about their day) as they will be eager to tell you about specific instances.
The kids will be so proud to see the stickers mounting up and discover what a kind person they are!

For older children you could start a positivity journal.
Get a nice notebook or diary. Ask your child at the end of each day to write down an act of kindness they did for someone else and one act of kindness that they received.
This makes for a lovely discussion point before bed.
The journal is also a really nice thing to keep and look back on.

Recommended Reading

Here is a list of 25 children’s books that teach about kindness.

A personal favourite of mine is by author Carol McCloud, an early childhood specialist and educator.
This version is for children under 8 years old.
kindness book
‘Through simple prose and vivid illustrations featuring girls and boys from around the world, this heartwarming book encourages positive behavior as children see how rewarding it is to express daily kindness, appreciation, and love. Bucket filling and dipping are effective metaphors for understanding the effects of our actions and words on the well being of others and ourselves.’ amightygirl.com

And for the kids aged 8+ you have this version.
kindness book

Both books are available on Amazon.

Check out our latest posts for more activity or book suggestions.

Savoury Cake Recipe – Tomato & Mozzarella

Tomato and Mozzarella Cake – Savoury cake recipe

Tomato Mozzarella Cake
Image from cookpad.com
Recipe from a book I have laying around

This savoury cake recipe is so simple and easy to make with the kids.
It is perfect for them to take to the park (cold) as a gouté or to have warm, along with a salad for dinner!

Ingredients

  • 150g flour
  • 10g baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 10ml olive oil
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 125ml full fat milk
  • 125g mozzarella
  • 100g sun dried tomatoes
  • 10g pine nuts

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 180degrees.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, eggs, olive oil, salt and milk together in a large bowl.
Chop the mozzarella into small pieces, do the same with the tomatoes.
Add the chopped ingredients and the pine nuts to the mixture.
Give it a good mix.
Butter the mould. I personally prefer to use a silicone mould because it makes getting the cake out SO much easier at the end.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Poke the cake with a knife, if it comes out wet, bake for another few minutes. Keep checking.
Serve warm or cold.

Variations

Add some grated courgette to the mix and increase the hidden veggies.
Olives would also work really well in this cake!
If the kids like this recipe, have a look at Yummly. They have an awesome selection of Savoury Cake Recipes for you to try out.

Check out What’s cooking? for some other great recipe ideas to get your children into the kitchen!

Catacombs of Paris

“Arrête ! C’est ici l’empire de la mort”

Catacombs Paris
www.tiqets.fr

Have you already visited the labyrinth under the city that is the Catacombs of Paris?
The Empire of Death is a tour not to be missed.

But what is it exactly?

Back in the late 18th century there were major public health problems that were discovered to be tied to the city’s cemeteries. The decision was made to excavate all of the bones and transfer them to an underground quarry. The 11,000m2 space used to store the bones was transformed into an ossuary aka The Empire of Death.   

What can I see there?

Follow the maze of pathways and discover the final resting places of over 6 million bones.
At the entrance to the tunnels you will find sign posts and history boards giving you more information about the catacombs.
Before opening to the public in 1809, Inspector Héricart de Thury decided to do an extensive decorative rearrangement. The bones, previously just piled up, were organised into walls (like in the picture above). He added monuments such as columns, altars and tombs along the pathway and plaques with religious and poetic texts.

Why would I want to go there?

Navigating one of the world’s largest underground ossuaries is an interesting way to learn about the history of Paris.
It is a moving experience, the sheer quantity of skulls and bones make you consider the past and such events as the plague, epidemics, famines.
We would recommend the audio guide, available at the entrance for 5euros, as it provides explanations of the inscriptions on the walls and many interesting facts.

Is it suitable for my children?

It is creepy, yes. Skulls upon skulls upon skulls.
The official site advises against taking children under the age of 10.
Trust your parental judgement. Your child will be confronted with the concept of death, will be in close proximity to real bones but will also learn a lot.
I feel like a visit to the catacombs could be a good introductory point to get the kids asking questions about historical events.

The catacombs are located 20meters below the ground, this means that you need to descend 131 steps on a spiral staircase to enter and climb 112 steps at the other end.
The route is 1.5km total and will take you about 1 hour.
The average temperature is 14degrees and it can be very humid down there so dress appropriately!

Practical Info

The Catacombs of Paris can be found at 1 Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol Tanguy 75014 (place Denfert-Rochereau)
Opening Hours : Tuesday – Sunday 10h – 20h30
Official Website ( English Version)
There is a limited capacity in the catacombes, so often there is a long wait time to get in. We recommend you to buy your ‘skip the line’ tickets in advance here.

Check out our Out & About section to find more ideas of things to do around Paris!