Caring and Kindness
Edison Elementary School Counselor-December Newsletter
Kindness is a powerful tool. Let's use it!
As parents, teachers, and educators, one of our greatest hopes is that our kids will be kind, caring, and good people. When they have a choice to help others, we hope they will. But let's face it. It's not always easy to be kind, even for us adults. The good news is that kindness can be learned; just like any other behavior, it can be trained through repetition.
The most powerful way children learn new behaviors is by copying those around them. Which means we adults have a great opportunity, and responsibility, to teach by example. Teaching your children to care, not only about themselves, but also about others, is one of the best ways to help your child be happy and well adjusted. Through your modeling, guidance, and direction they will grow into competent, compassionate adults with honorable character.
Talking About Kindness
Spend time with your child asking questions and listening thoughtfully. Here are some great conversation starters:
- Tell me about a time when someone was kind to you. How did it make you feel?
- What do you think kindness means and why is it important?
- Who is someone in your class you can be kind to? How?
- What are ways you can be kind to people at home, at school and in the community?
- What activities at school require kindness?
- How do you show kindness even when you are upset?
- What can you do to encourage your friends to be kind to others?
- How do your acts of kindness affect those around you?
- When it is difficult for you to show kindness to someone, what do you do?
Why are Caring and Kindness so Important?
Sometimes, when we get busy it can affect the people around us. When we are busy, our tone of voice can change and words that have no mean intent can come across as harsh or uncaring. This can have a snowball effect and our relationships can become strained. It is important that we deliberately pause, breathe, give ourselves a break, and practice kindness to all. Remember, no act of kindness is too small, and every act of kindness sends endless ripples out into the world.
Tips to Help Children Learn to Care
Acknowledge that child development is a journey and give choices. Set reasonable expectations for cooperation for your child. Some young children are able to wait patiently while you help a neighbor; for others, that might be a challenge.
Talk with children about their feelings. Children need to be aware of their own emotions before they can empathize with and respond to someone else's. Ask children how they feel about different situations. Ask questions that require a child to take another's perspective, "How do you think he felt when he fell down?"
Validate caring behaviors when they occur. "It was very kind of you to help Stewart when he fell out of the wagon." Or, "Thank you for helping me put the groceries away."
Explain situations and expectations beforehand. "Aunt Trudy is coming to visit. It would make her feel so happy if each of us say 'hi', smile at her or give her a hug when she arrives. What else do you think we can do to help her feel happy?"
Volunteer as a family. There are many meaningful ways for families to help brighten the lives of people in need. Get involved with organizations and learn about ways that your family can contribute toward the well-being of others.
Here are just a few of the many benefits your child will experience from learning the values of Kindness and Caring
- Happy children
- Improved health and less stress
- Greater Sense of Belonging and Improved Self Esteem
- Increased Feelings of Gratitude
- Better Concentration and Improved Results
- Less Bullying
- Reduced Depression
Things to keep in mind...
- It is important to be aware of our own behavior. Are we showing kindness to our children and others? Do they see this behavior in us?
- A little kindness goes a long way. An act of kindness tells others they are important and valuable.
- Kindness takes time and sensitivity.
- Kindness creates a safe environment where children feel confident.
- Children should also be taught how to notice opportunities to be kind.