Many people believe that children will naturally develop kindness and empathy themselves so they'd rather let their children focus on other things such as their studies, playing instruments or getting involved in sports. Indeed, these two traits will often grow without any sort of attention being paid to them.
The world would be a better place if we all could demonstrate more kindness and empathy during childhood development. Educating them when young is the perfect solution!
How to Instil Kindness
Teaching kids to be kind may seem challenging. It's almost the same as making them eat their vegetables. Do not fret, a little learning goes a long way! It won't need much push nor encouragement. However, it is something that needs to be practiced regularly amongst children so that they will hold on to it until they enter "the real and big world".
Kindness can be taught at home or in the classroom and being kind to everyone might also just make someone's day. As the saying goes, "no act of kindness, no matter how small is ever wasted".
Acts of Kindness
We all have been amazed by how kids can be unassumingly nice or do something wonderfully kind. This should be encouraged for all children.
One of the ways to encourage children about kindness is you could always introduce them with the acts of kindness. This can easily motivate them to show kindness towards their family, friends and even strangers in unexpected ways.
You could also suggest them to use complimentary or positive sticky notes. Provide them with a supply of sticky notes and kindly ask them to jot down a compliment to another person on the sticky note given. A sticky note a day, keeps the negativity away!
Besides that, thank-you notes are also a good idea! Give them some time to write down their appreciation for someone who recently did something nice for them and encourage them to deliver their notes also.
How to Instil Empathy
Goodness includes goodwill, smiles and encouraging words while empathy means listening earnestly, compassionately and putting yourself in someone else's shoes.
A way to encourage empathy amongst children is for them to relate themselves with other people by putting themselves in their shoes.
It is essential for children to be kind, caring and to make and retain friends. Show them how to be empathetic towards others, even if you don’t agree with that person.
Depending on how old your students are, you might want to read them one of these age-appropriate books about practicing kindness and empathy. We’ve compiled a list; just for you!
1. White Fang
White Fang written by Jack London where a half wolf and half dog understands both cruelty of nature and humans. He had way too many obstacles to overcome and eventually found the kindness and love he actually deserves.
2. A little Bit of Winter
"Winter is Coming!" which means it is time for Hedgehog to hibernate and Rabbit's time for a hideout. Will forgetful Rabbit be able to keep his promise? A little Bit of Winter, a heartwarming story about friendship written by P. Stewart and C. Riddell.
3. I’m Really Ever So Not Well
Charlie is a loving big brother who is willing to take care of his little sister, Lola when she's 'ever so not well'. He brought her cookies and pink milk, flowers and even sang her a special song. I'm Really Ever So Not Well is a story by Lauren Child about family.
4. Looga and Barooga
Looga is the kind of friend that everybody needs in their life! When she discovered her best friend is afraid of water, she knew she had to help Barooga overcome his fear. They used their imagination and set sail to Soap Island. Looga and Barooga, an adorable story by Robin Etherington about friendship.