We see it everywhere these days, on t-shirts, posters, bumper stickers, classroom walls…”Be Kind.” This message is important, but even more important is how we teach kindness to children so they feel the impact kindness has on their own happiness and well-being.
How to Teach Kindness
I love using books to deepen a child’s understanding of something, especially when it comes to social and emotional learning. Stories and illustrations have a way of evoking feelings and striking conversation that we might not otherwise experience when we are simply told or taught. Kindness Is My Superpower, by Alicia Ortego, is a great book that really goes deep into the meaning of kindness.
We can be kind in different ways. Here are three examples:
- Random acts of kindness (smiling, sharing)
- Being aware of other people (abilities, feelings)
- Offering help (opening a door, cleaning up)
You can engage children in conversations about these different ways we can show kindness and have them share examples of times they were kind in these ways, or they witnessed kindness in these ways. Go a step further and have them talk about how it FELT to show or see kindness in action. Associating a story with a feeling helps it resonate.
Now think about each of the three categories yourself. How do you feel when you practice each way of being kind?
The truth is, being kind helps us feel good inside. We feel proud, connected, and maybe even a sense of warmth in our hearts. Leaning into this feeling is what helps us show more kindness more often. In a way, it is self-serving to be kind, while also serving our community. Win-win!
Kind Mind aims to nurture a kind, compassionate, and emotionally connected community…the name speaks for itself. <3