East Side News
Week of February 29. 2016
Teaching Our Kids to Care
Here are four ways to help bridge the kindness gap and raise kids to be kind:
1. Walk the walk. Children understand kindness through everyday interactions with their parents, Gordon said. Empathy begets empathy, in her view. “The way you speak to someone when they come to the door or respond to your child even when tired,” she explains, “are how your child learns to model behavior and treat other people.”
2. Talk the talk — give them kind language. Julie Masterson, professor of communication science and disorders at Missouri State University and author of "Beyond Baby Talk," says learning empathy and language go hand-in-hand. She defines kindness as the ability to take another person’s perspective and then tailor your words and actions accordingly.
Masterson describes her reaction to her 2-year old grandson, who will occasionally play favorites between his grandparents and announce: “I don’t want Mama J. I want Papa J.” While she assures parents these types of statements are age-appropriate, to model kindness, it’s crucial to respond by validating a toddler’s feelings, giving them another perspective to consider and encouraging them to “use kind words.” Masterson tells the little boy: “It’s nice that you want Papa J, but Mama J also wants to be with you.”
For older kids, Masterson recommends asking explicit questions about unkind behavior or language: how do you think that makes another person feel? What is it like to be in their shoes?
“There’s nothing incompatible with achieving at a high level and being a kind person,” promises Richard Weissbourd, psychologist and co-author, with Stephanie Jones, of the Harvard education study. “In every race, class and culture, you see families with successful children who are also focused on raising them to be caring and respectful.”
3. Reward big acts of kindness, but don't go overboard. Weissbourd, who runs the Making Caring Common project, advises parents to reward “uncommon acts of kindness” — like if a child starts a lemonade stand for a good cause or goes out of their way to help someone. However, Weissbourd says we shouldn't praise children for everyday helpfulness like taking out the trash or playing with a younger sibling. “That everyday kindness should be expected,” he said. “That’s how it becomes part of who we are, part of our identity.”
4. Force them out of their comfort zone to teach empathy. If students haven’t learned compassion and generosity by the time they’re 18, it’s unlikely that they learn “kindness” in a lecture hall or seminar, according to Shelley Kagan, professor of philosophy at Yale University. Instead, he believes young adults should interact with people from different backgrounds, to learn how to place themselves in someone else’s shoes — whether that means taking a summer job that gets them out of their comfort zone or living in a different culture.
The good news for parents is that based on evolutionary biology, children are, in a sense, hardwired to become kind. “We know that in groups where people cooperated, they flourished, but in groups where they did not, they died out.” said Stefan Klein, author of "Survival of the Nicest: How Altruism Makes Us Human and Why It Pays to Get Along." Luckily, the story of human evolution is not only survival of the fittest, he explained. It’s also survival of the kindest.
Oh, The Places You'll Go with READING!!!
Check out some cool pictures from PARP week!
Math and Movement Fun Night Helpers Needed
East Side PTO Meeting
Wednesday, March 9th, 6-7pm
111 Gleason Street
What's coming up!
- 3/7/2016: 1st and 2nd Grade Movie Night - (See flyer sent home!)
- 3/9/2016: PTO Meeting 6:00p.m.
- 3/17/2016: Math and Movement Fun Night
East Side Elementary School, Gouverneur, NY
We are a Responsive Classroom school, so our belief is that the social and emotional curriculum is just as important as the academic curriculum. We pride ourselves to "Delivering The Promise of A Brighter Future!"
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