It takes time to fully develop the values of kindness and empathy. In fact, kindness is a philosophy that some adults still struggle to incorporate into their daily lives. Nonetheless, an effort to combat playground bullying, it is essential that parents and educators work together to teach, exemplify, and encourage kindness and empathy in the classroom and in the home.
1) Lead by Example. Children often emulate the behaviors of the adults they respect and admire and learn how to treat people based off of what they witness. Create a home and classroom environment that models kindness and respect and children will adapt to this environment by imitating the behavior. As a result, they will begin to model kindness through their everyday interactions.
2) Choose Kind Words. Be mindful of the words that you choose to use in front of the child. Avoid or discourage behaviors such as shouting, insults, or name calling and ensure that arguments occur with moderate tones and reasonable responses.
3) Explain the Concept of Empathy. Kindness and empathy go hand in hand. It is important that children learn the ability to take on another person’s perspective. In order to accomplish this task, ask explicit questions concerning the child’s unkind words or behavior. “How do you think that made the other person feel?” or “How would that make you feel?” This allows the child to get an idea of the emotions that the other person went through and discourages the behavior.
4) Teach Kindness Through Encounters with Others. In order for a child to experiment with and enforce concepts of kindness and empathy, he or she must be around other children. If the child is never around other children, it becomes more difficult for him or her to translate these concepts into the classroom environment. Set up playdates and create other social interactions with other children.
For more information on Shining Stars and the Montessori method, contact us today.
Also, during this “lovely” month, we’ve launched #ShowYourLoveforSSMA to share with families the SSMA opportunity and to raise money for the move to our new location. If you’re a parent or friend, please share an spread the word with your neighbors.
- R. Rodriguez, Executive Director