This month we will focus on the character concept, “kindness.”
Kindness refers to the caring words and considerate actions you use to show thoughtfulness and concern for others. Kind people are empathetic. They value other people’s feelings. They help people when they are in need without expecting anything in return. When we use kind words and actions it makes the world a better place to live for everyone.
Kindness is a key part of friendship. It is also a vital social skill that will help children in all types of relationships. Even when very young, children can tell when someone is in need of help and they desire to help that person!
Studies tell us that in children as young as 3 years old, children really want to be kind and helpful. Researchers at Yale University (2013) set up a variety of objects such as a working marker and a driedout marker or a working cup and a broken cup. When young children were asked to hand over a dysfunctional object for the sake of achieving a goal (i.e. the researcher wanted to be able to pour water or write a note), the children tended to override the original request and handed over the working object instead.
According to Yale professor, Paul Bloom; “It tells us something interesting and important about early kindness — that when young children help someone, it is genuinely motivated by a desire to help the other person achieve his or her ultimate goals.” Children think beyond fulfilling a request and help the person in need to reach their goal.
As part of “kindness month,” we’d like to encourage our students to generate and act on various ways to show kindness to others. Can they do 10 acts of kindness this month? 100? Random acts of kindness don’t need to take a long time or cost money. When your child thinks to open the door for another person, gives a hug to a friend or helps clean up, s/he is showing kindness! Challenge your child to do one, two or even three random acts of kindness per day- they add up!
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