What I’m Reading: “Into the Magic Shop” by James R. Doty. Doty a neurosurgeon and director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) at Stanford University, writes about his rough childhood and his research into the connection between our brain, and our hearts. It gives practical instructions for meditation and empowers readers to take control of their emotional and physical lives. A great read!
Building Confident Learners: Take breaks when necessary. Sometimes it’s helpful to set a timer for work periods and another for break periods when working or studying for a period that is over an hour. This helps build in necessary brain brains without having to overthink it.
What Gives Me Joy: Family and local restaurants. My uncle and aunt stopped in town on their way to Charleston and we had lunch at The Farmer’s Table. It was great to spend a few hours with my Wisconsin family (who I miss) while enjoying a delicious meal!
What I’m Reading: “25 of the Most Exciting Picture Books of Fall 2017” by Devon Corneal. This is a quick review of 25 great children’s books coming out this fall. If you’re looking for something new to read at home or at school, follow the link to read about the books yourself!
Building Confident Learners: Read, read, read! Reading at home either with an adult or alone is the one of the easiest ways to develop literacy. Choose books that are interesting or new, and set aside specific time to snuggle up with a good book! You can check out the list above for some fun ideas.
What Gives Me Joy: Cooking and sharing a meal. Nothing is as comforting as a delicious meal shared with good family and friends. I’ve been enjoying planning meals to cook for the week and have found some fun new recipes in the process! Cooking with kids can be a great way to teach them to follow directions. It also provides a mini lesson in measurement while supporting teamwork.
What can I do with my child to promote kindness, you ask? Well, let me tell you…
Create a kindness board
Have you ever heard of a vision board? A vision board is essentially a visual representation of all your dreams and goals. Similarly you can create a kindness board with tons of things your child relates to kindness. You can use magazines, print pictures of friends and family, etc…You can include kind people (both famous and not), kind actions, and other images of kindness. It could be fun to create a section for goals of kindness too! Brainstorm some things your child wants to do to show kindness towards others. Think volunteering, helping friends, giving thanks etc…
Read books about kindness and maybe even write some yourself
There are so many awesome books about kindness, but if you need a few ideas you can visit my post on books about kindness as a starting point. Use those books as inspiration and help your child use their creativity to create and illustrate their own story to teach kindness.
Get out into the community and volunteer
Find ways to get involved in your community! There are tons of volunteer opportunities for kids and adults. Whether you’re looking for a one-time or recurring opportunity there are always people that can use your help. Start by looking up organizations you’d like to help and give them a call!
Lead by example
If we want our children to be kind, we must be kind a well. Model gratitude, love, respect, and acceptance. Every. Single. Day.
When a child struggles with kindness (let’s face it we all do sometimes) it can be helpful to make a kindness chart with them. A kindness chart is essentially a behavior chart with a specific goal in mind. By noting kind behavior in a chart, the child can see when they’ve made good choices and when they made some mistakes. A physical chart can help them see how they are doing and adjust their behavior.
As promised I have compiled a few books that teach kindness. Although there are many great books out there, for the purpose of brevity I will list four. The first two books are suggestions for lower elementary readers, while the second two are for an older audience of young readers.
“The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein.
A true classic for young readers. I love its focus on empathy and find my heart breaking a little for the giving tree every time I read it. The story reminds young readers to be grateful for the support they have, and to return love and kindness.
“Have you Filled a Bucket Today?” By Carol McCloud
This book uses the metaphor of filling up a bucket with your love, kindness, and positive actions. It encourages loving behavior by illustrating how our actions and words either “fill up” or “empty” our buckets.
The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
Although perhaps above the reading level of younger children, it is accessible to them by reading aloud with an adult. The characters in “The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe” and particularly relatable to children and the book has many lessons on kindness and navigating sibling relationships.
“Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain
A more complex look into friendship, freedom and systemic oppression. It asks readers to think about how we as a part of a community within a broader society, show either love and kindness, or hate and subjugation. Because the story touches on a handful or sensitive (albeit very important issues) I suggest this story be saved for middle and high school readers.
“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”