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Encourage Kindness in Children

Once again, Dr. Amy Campbell, a counselor at the Rawson Saunders School for Dyslexia, shares a wonderful message. Amy’s post today describes ways to promote kindness in children. Being happy isn’t actually enough. We also want children to be kind.

A recent Harvard study indicated that youth feel that the adults in their lives are much more concerned about their achievement or happiness than if they cared about other people. The study emphasized the need for all stakeholders in a child’s life to teach kindness. Here are some things that can help:

  1. Be conscious of the messages you’re sending. Understandably, adults can, directly and indirectly, communicate to children the message: The most important thing is that you’re happy. Think about sending (including saying it) the message: The most important thing is that you’re kind.

  2. Emphasize caring when you interact with other key adults in children’s lives. Let children see that the adults in their lives are discussing how they are good community members. For example, parents can ask teachers, in front of their child, about how their child contributes to a culture of caring at school.

  3. Do not shy away from talking to children about caring and uncaring acts they witness on television, on the news, or in daily life. Help them to zoom in and out on how the situation affects the people immediately involved and how it can ripple to affect a bigger group of people.

  4. Help children practice gratitude and kindness to people outside of their immediate “circle.” Encourage them to acknowledge someone that they may not immediately think about, such as a school custodian, a new student at school, or someone they witness practicing kindness.


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