Kindness is a core value at See Us Grow Childcare and Learning Center and, just like letters and numbers, it is something that needs to be taught. Kindness is not necessarily a natural instinct for humans as it doesn’t have any obvious evolutionary benefit but research shows that teaching kindness has a range of benefits to children’s cognitive, social, emotional, and physical health.
Right now, everyone’s in need of some extra kindness and as children learn best through example why not take the lead and show them how to practice acts of kindness? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Most of us have much more than we need and a great phrase to remember is “when you have more than you need to build a longer table, not a higher fence” meaning that we can show kindness to others by sharing what we have rather than stockpiling what we have.
For children this might mean donating to a food bank, sorting through their toys and donating to children’s homes, domestic violence shelters, or other charities, sorting through their clothes and picking out some to give to charities for children in need, or even making supper for a friend or relative.
These acts of kindness are less abstract than donating money, or taking part in fundraisers and help your child to learn some simple ways to help others.
Sometimes acts of service are the best kindness you can show. You might choose to do some yard work for a neighbour, help grandma dust, wash grandpa’s car, or have your child help their sibling with their chores.
The idea here is to teach children how to look out for and identify opportunities to provide practical help to others.
Spending time to carefully make gifts for others is a lovely way for children to show kindness. You might encourage them to make friendship bracelets for their friends, draw pictures for care home residents, or create special crafts for family members.
Teaching children to give compliments and show appreciation through words is a great way to teach them kindness, after all, who doesn’t love to hear something nice about themselves!? You can demonstrate giving compliments in the way that you interact with others or even set children a challenge to say 3 nice things to others in a day and get them to report back at the end of the day. Saying thank you to people working hard might involve some thank you notes, perhaps your child could write a thank you note to doctors and hospital staff working to keep us safe during the pandemic, or to the emergency services, or even just to a neighbor who waves each morning. The idea is to impress upon children that there doesn’t need to be a special occasion for us to appreciate others and what they do!
So, there you have a few different ways that you can encourage children to show kindness, mostly through your own example. Please do let us know what you and your children get up to; we’d love to know how our little ones are growing in kindness.