Why is it important to teach a child the importance of being kind from a young age? There are four main benefits associated with children that practice kindness. It’s never too early to start teaching your children vital principles and life lessons that can carry them throughout the different development stages and into adulthood.
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Kindness induces feelings of happiness in the receiver as well as the giver. Once a child learns that kindness makes you happy, they will surely start practicing more acts of kindness. From a scientific standpoint, kind acts emancipate endorphins which stimulate the brain areas coupled with trust and pleasure.
Kind acts encourage production of a hormone called serotonin in the body which is vital for mood, memory, sleep, digestion and learning. The more serotonin is produced by the body, the calmer and focused children tend to be, which results in better concentration on their studies and improved results overall.
There are always some form of bullying going around in schools and many cases are often not reported to teachers or parents. It’s not always easy to identify the cause or reason of bullying but by teaching acts of kindness to children it can alleviate the situation. Random acts of kindness can create a supportive environment where children are encouraged to help each other instead of bullying the weaker children.
Kindness also enhances the production of a hormone called oxytocin in the body which help with regulating blood pressure, decrease inflammation as well as reducing free radicals that is brought on by stress. When children are less exposed to unnecessary stress, their overall mood and health improve which lead to happier and smarter students.
An excellent way to teach a child about acts of kindness is through reading, as many children love a good story and can relate to the characters in the book.
Have a look at these 5 children books that teach kindness
The Jelly Donut difference: sharing kindness with the world – by Maria Dismondy
The story is about two siblings, Leah and Dexter who don’t always get along and at times they can be quite mean to each other. The ooey, gooey jelly donuts featuring in the story is testament to the power of caring, generosity and kindness. The book teaches valuable life lessons specifically aimed at paying it forward and teaching children the value of being kind.
All the books that are written by Maria Dismondy, a former teacher in Michingan’s public schools with a Master’s degree in curriculum and research, are aimed at teaching children positive character traits to equip them with engaging in healthy friendships and solving challenging obstacles that arise throughout childhood.
Kindess is cooler, Mrs. Ruler – by Margery Cuyler
The story is about Mrs. Ruler who asks five of her kindergarten kids to miss recess as she has a special plan up her sleeve. She’s about to teach children the golden rule of “Kindness is cool”.
Ruler is no ordinary teacher and she often talks in rhymes, she’s wearing a ruler in her hairdo and she disciplines the children by having them do random acts of kindness.
Her entire class ends up doing so many good deeds that the kindness bulletin board can barely fit into the classroom.
She turned the assignment into a classroom assignment and they eventually manage to complete 100 acts of community, family and school kindness.
They practiced acts of kindness that included clearing the table after dinner, helping the elderly etc. and this kindergarten class is testament to the fact that children can really make a difference in the world.
Acclaimed picture book author Margery Cuyler inspires children of all ages to have a heart of gold.
Listening with my heart: a story of kindness and self-compassion – by Gabi Garcia
We often talk to our kids about how to be friends with others but not a lot about being friends with themselves.
This book teaches kids that positive self-talk and self-acceptance help with building emotional resilience, well-being and happiness.
Universal themes such as empathy, kindness and friendship are also highlighted in the story.
Be kind – By Pat Zietlow Miller
This sweet and thoughtful picture book teaches children about being kind, from asking the new girl in class to play or standing up for someone against a bully. The story is about a little girl called Tanisha who spills grape juice all over her new dress and her classmates’ quest to make her feel better.
This moving tale is a true testament to what kindness is and no matter how big or small, any act of kindness can make a difference.
Have you filled a bucket today? A Guide to daily happiness for kids – by Carol McCleod
This book teaches young readers valuable lessons about caring, sharing and giving. The daily guide to happiness is not just for the younger ones. A simple metaphor of a bucket and a dipper is used that illustrates that when we are kind, we’re not only filling the buckets of those around us, but also our own buckets. When we are saying mean things, we’re dipping into buckets. Basically, we are dipping and filling into each other’s buckets all day long. When you are considered a bucket filler, you are making the world a better place to be.
We all can do with reminders of how beneficial positive behaviour and positive thinking is for our overall well-being and state of mind. This story also teaches that by showing appreciation and kindness to others we can make the world a better place for everyone, including ourselves. This book is described by Emily-Jane Hills Orford, Readers’Favourite book reviews as “a classic tale, which is beautifully told and beautifully shared”.
This 32-page picture book has won 24 awards and comes highly recommended for grandparents, teachers, parents or people that want to teach empathy, the importance of being kind and creating a positive environment for everyone in a school, workplace or home environment.