Kindness counts and it possesses all the tools to make a child’s day. Having kind children makes every day better and more fruitful. As educators, how can we encourage our students to treat one another with kindness to foster a positive learning environment?
What is the Goal of Kindness Programs?
Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all lived in an environment solely focused on enhancing peace while emphasizing the good we can do for one another? Imparting these traits to our kids early should be paramount. Instilling kindness in children is just as important as studying subjects such as Math and other topics. There are many techniques used to teach children proper manners and how to remember pieces of information. Whether in the classroom or at home, direct instruction is the most effective method. Use this when teaching kids about kindness. Some students might not be seeing these traits at home from their parents, who are their first point of contact. Always teach children about the importance of treating others with respect. You will immediately see the change in their behavior.
Best Techniques for Teaching Kindness
1. Imaginative Kindness Ideas
When introducing a new topic, make sure to lay out the basics right away. It may be difficult for some students to receive and process the information all at once.
You want the children to feel confident in their ability to achieve your expectations, even if they’ve never done it before. By imaginative ideas as a class, children can reactivate their existing knowledge.
As a parent, show them how to be kind at home with your day-to-day activities.
2. Unexpected Acts of Kindness
Inspiring kids to be kind in unexpected ways can be as simple as having them look for opportunities to do so amongst themselves. This can be achieved by putting them together in a room and asking them to write down nice things about each other.
Complimentary notes: To help children remember what they’ve learned, keep sticky notes around the house or classroom. You can also take a step further and award gifts for the best essays that genuinely depict kindness amongst the kids. For example, they can leave encouraging messages for one another anonymously. This creates a happy mood.
Thank You notes: Always encourage your children to write thank-you notes to those who have done them a favor recently, although it’s their choice who they want to thank. The lunch lady, the school bus driver or an older sibling who helped them with their math homework could all be candidates.
Allow them to express their gratitude to one another by having them write a thank-you card once a week, or maybe more! Remind them that this unexpected gesture will overjoy the person who receives the “thank you.”
3. Challenge Children to be Kind
Set a goal for your children to offer an act of kindness regularly. Challenge them to go all out; and be sure to make it fun and relaxing for them. When a task is presented as a challenge, kids are more likely to complete it and form new habits.
Set a target of five actions per week, with a checklist or calendar to keep track of their progress.
As a teacher, you can create a classroom chart for the challenge. The board could be a place for students to display their finished kindness list or calendar. Sharpening a friend’s pencils, taking a classmate’s garbage or sending an anonymous note of encouragement to a fellow student are examples of random acts of kindness that your children may perform for each other.
4. Educate Them on Kindness
It doesn’t take a long time to learn how to be kind; and for children it isn’t a difficult task. Children always show the willingness to learn, so what better time is there to teach them how to be kind?!
Educating them in kindness should not have to be as intensive as their classroom periods. By all means, try to avoid this.
Slowly easing in the topic on morning rides to school or mid-bedtime talk before heading to sleep usually does the trick.
With various imaginative lessons, conversations and community-building innovative ideas, children will learn.
5. Motivate Them to Read Kindness Inspired Books
Topics based on kindness can be introduced and explored in a meaningful way by using scenarios and stories written in books or even blogs, such as KindOverMatter.com. They provide quality content on being kind. They also have a fast-growing community of like-minds.
Having them read your favorite part of a book that teaches an act of kindness or giving a scenario where empathy is being discussed, works just fine!
- What is kindness? Children learn how to define kindness and what it means to be a kind person.
- Ways to be Kind to Others: Children learn to describe and illustrate methods of how to be nice to others. They should make an effort to be kind to others every day.
- Giving & Generosity: Children learn to describe the meaning of generosity and demonstrate how they can be generous to others.
As a parent or teacher, deciding to improve kindness in and around the home or classroom is a win-win situation for you and your children/students. They will love participating in acts of kindness and you’ll be delighted to see them develop a positive outlook on life.