Sharing The Walk

William Livers..... School Social Worker..... February, 2022

Helping our Children to Act with Kindness

I find it unusual that news programs will show segments of random acts of kindness, as if these are newsworthy events. Wouldn't things be better if being kind to one another was just our nature in doing things.

Parents appreciate hearing that their child is kind. We teach our children to be kind and nice. When we set up playdates for our little ones, we instruct and model for them sharing and taking turns with their new friends. Yet with so many people, politicians come to mind to me, not exhibiting decent behavior, how can we be sure our children learn this behavior?

Here are some practices that all parents can use to help instill kindness on a daily basis:

1. Young children don't always have the ability to see past the moment. They might say or doing something not realizing how their actions were felt by another. In these situations, we need to share with them how the person might have felt with their comment. Or even how they would feel if someone said it to them. You may have to be direct and share that their words were unkind.

2. Help your child build a positive comments tool box. Kids don't always know what to say when asked a question like, "Do you like my picture?" We tell them to be honest but we have to teach grace too. So if they know they can respond with, "I like the colors you used" or "You really worked hard on it" your child might be more prone to reply with a kind remark.

3. Teaching good manners, being respectful of others, greeting someone properly are all important parts of raising a kind kid. When a child is given a present or a compliment, having your child reply with 'thank you' is a great practice.

There has been a lot of research that shows the benefits of being kind. People who behave with kindness tend to be happier and healthier. It's a trait that truly has no limits

Big picture

Valentine's Day, at the Elementary Level, means being connected

As adults, we connotate Valentine's Day with love. Giving gifts to show affection to our spouse or significant other is the focus of this day. I, however, see a different intent at the elementary school. Our young children, I believe, have a more general vision of the day. They give small Valentine's cards to let the other person know that they are connected, either as friends or at least as classmates. This feeling of connectedness is vital. We are all social creatures and need relationships to stay healthy.

Research has shown that being socially isolated affects a person's physical and emotional health. This has been so obvious with Covid and people's reactions to the limited contacts with family and friends. Efforts were made to stay connected by using FaceTime or Google Meet to talk and see each other. This ability to stay connected was vital for so many.

I think the small Valentine cards have the same power. This small gesture from one classmate to another is a tangible sign that these two people are connected. And that is a healthy thing to maintain.

Kindness Comes In All Forms