Teaching Kindness

Posted On: April 10, 2015

Have you read the book “Have you filled a bucket today?” by Carol McCloud? I was reading it to my four year old daughter last night, and was reminded of how hard it can be to find the right words to describe adult concepts like kindness, compassion and empathy to little ones.  

The book is about kindness, and illustrates how acts of kindness have big impacts on the happiness we feel in our daily lives. It also describes how unkind words and actions make us all feel sad, and sometimes change how we treat others.

I have become a big fan of the online resource www.heartmindonline.org which is a partnership with the Dalai Lama Centre for Peace and Education. There are so many practical resources for parents and teachers to use to educate the hearts of our children. I choose the following four points for today’s blog post to help us all be better teachers of kindness every day.

1 - Ask - Ask your child how he or she is feeling.

When you ask about your child’s feelings, you are communicating that you care and value his or her emotions. 

2 - Talk - Talk about your child’s feelings and the feelings of others that are communicated through facial and body expressions.

When your child is sad or happy, you might say “I can tell you are feeling sad because your face and body are telling me.” Discuss the experiences and situations that lead to various types of emotions.

3 - Read - Label emotions and describe the situations that lead to those emotions through children’s literature.

Build emotional literacy skills by using many opportunities to point out the emotions of others and give those emotions names. Children’s books provide a wonderful opportunity for this through story and pictures.

Here is the link to their downloadable list of picture books:
http://heartmindonline.org/sites/default/files/25HeartMindPictureBooks.pdf

4 - Engage - Engage young children in activities that help you and others.

Children want to help and contribute. Provide opportunities for your child to help you (in household chores, taking care of a pet or other activities). Developing this early in development will help children see this as a normal part of life.

I hope you find this information useful, and I hope you share it with others who would think so too!
In kindness,

Sue
Mother of 2
Manager – Make Children First
slissel@interiorcommunityservices.bc.ca


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