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!
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.
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.
‘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.
Both books are available on Amazon.