Conversing about Kindness with Kids

“Let’s take 28 days of the month and each day I want you to think of one thing you can do each day to be kind to someone else.” This is what we ask 4th & 5th graders to do as a “homework” assignment during our KidSafe program. I was somewhat shocked recently by the student’s responses such as, “I don’t have time.” “Twenty eight, that’s so many!” “We really have to do this?” My initial internal emotional response was outrage and great disappointment, how dare these privileged children tell me they don’t have time to be kind! But I remained poker faced and instead of anger and disappointment I asked them to explain to me what they thought I was asking them to do – so we could clarify the assignment.

 

As hands raised, one student thought he had to come up with all 28 in one day, as I took a deep yoga breath, I explained that no, not all 28 in a day. Others thought they needed to take on big service projects. I explained the concept of small acts of kindness. I suggested that as they are brushing their teeth in the morning (assuming they are doing this J) this is a great time to take a moment and think about one way they can be kind today. I explained that I am not even asking them to do it. I just want each student to start their day thinking about it. If they do an act of kindness that is a wonderful thing. If they don’t that is okay too – I just want them to think “what can I do today to be kind to someone else?”

I could practically see the little light bulbs coming on above their heads, the tone in the classroom changed. One student asked if they should write down their acts of kindness. The positive tone was palpable. We then brainstormed ideas of what “kindness” looks and feels like during the day at school. Once we got started they understood the concept of small gestures of kindness having a huge impact on another human being. As I looked at the class I did notice that for many this was a topic that many of the children do not discuss at school or at home.

 

What kind of children are we raising? Math, Science, Reading – all important, but what about “Character Education?” Who is teaching our children (or not) about being good people? Good citizens? We at KidSafe want to reach out to Parents. We implore you to model kindness but also to have the conversations with your children that will shape the adults they will become. Parents NEED to be teaching and modeling for their children how to be a good person, how to be kind, how to be fair and how to give back.

 

We as parents can not only help keep our children safe by talking with them about their personal safety as is KidSafe’s goal – but we as parents can help turn around the national scourges our children are experiencing, bullying, abuse, and suicide to name a few. To get us started we have created Table Talk Conversation Starters – easy to use with children of all ages. There is a topic a month, for example Fairness, Compassion, Respect. Visit KidSafe to download the Conversation Starters (place link here to the exact page) under parent tips. Enjoy taking the time to start a new tradition of Table Talk.


Testimonials

"Thank you for giving us the opportunity to be included in the KidSafe program. I highly recommend this program to other schools. We hope that we will be given the same opportunity for our Kindergarten and 2nd grade students to be a part of this wonderful program during the 2016-2017 school year."

Mrs. Keelyn Meselsohn 2nd Grade Teacher/Team Leader Tradewinds Elementary School

"The Safe and Smart Series Book My Body Is Special and Belongs To Me is kept in my middle school clinic and has been a tool that has opened many conversations for me between students that have experienced a difficult situation and were unable to talk about it. Through the illustrations and nonjudgmental verbiage the author has allowed kids permission to share their feelings about invasion of their personal space. Thank you so much."

Nurse Connie, PBC School Nurse 6.8.2016

"I'm so grateful that KidSafe has partnered with my daughter's school.  I learned so much in the parent training--how to recognize potential sexual predator behavior; how to quiz my child about what they would do in different scenarios; and how to explain safe and unsafe touch.  In addition, knowing that my daughter is receiving weekly trainings on these topics gives me great peace of mind.  I have confidence that I can reinforce what she is learning in school in order to prevent her from ever being a victim of such a heinous crime.  Thank you KidSafe for your dedication to protecting our communities' most vulnerable citizens."

Christina Kranick

“It was a normal Saturday and I was at the rink with my 7 and 8 year old. My son asked me if he could use the Men’s Restroom by himself.  Without hesitation, my daughter said,  Absolutely not! I was in KidSafe today and you cannot go to the restroom alone.  It is very important that Mommy is with you.. with us.   I was so proud of my little girl!  We are so blessed to have Debbie Miller at our school teaching our children the importance of safety. Many thanks to you all!  Your program and instruction is absolutely amazing.  Keep up the great work!"  

Tara Henley Admissions Assistant, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and School, Ft. Lauderdale

I am a parent of two Pine Crest children and I attended your program on Monday night. I just wanted to thank you so very much for the very informative seminar. As hard as it was to hear all of those things, it was very needed. We were thrilled that you were able to come and share that very important information with us and our children. So again...thank you.

Elisa Aronberg

Today’s training was awesome! It was very informative. Sally was a very good resource, she motivated us a lot! We want to pass on this information to parents, teachers and students! Thank you for offering workshops like this. These are tools we use to continue serving our children and families.

Participant from Children’s Services Council of Broward Seminar

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