Teaching children to be kind, truly kind, is one of the most important and hardest lessons we can teach. Not only does kindness create a positive ripple effect, but it also fosters compassion, empathy, and understanding. In this blog post, we'll explore a simple affirmation and reflection exercise that can help tiny humans cultivate kindness towards themselves and others.
For today, I've picked out "I am kind. To myself, my family, my friends, and others" from Metta Play's bilingual affirmation card deck.
Now it's time to encourage kids to repeat the affirmation out loud and think about what it means and think about how did "kindness" show up today? Explain that being kind to is not just a good thing to do but also makes us feel good.
Reflection is an effective tool to help kids dig a little bit deeper. Ask kids to reflect on the following questions to help them understand how they showed kindness to themselves, their family, friends, and others. This exercise promotes self-awareness, empathy, and gratitude.
How did you show kindness to yourself? This can be as simple as picking out their favorite dress, taking a break when they felt overwhelmed or talking positively to themselves this morning.
How did you show kindness to your family? Ask kids to reflect on how they showed kindness to their family. It could be helping Mama with the dishes, saying thank you for the cereal, or reading a book with sister.
How did you show kindness to your friends? This one is especially relevant once they are in daycare or school. It could be giving a seat to a friend, sharing toys, playing together, or cheering a friend on.
How did you show kindness to others? Others here means anyone outside of family and friends, so it could be strangers, their neighbors, the postman. The act can be as simple as smiling at their next door neigbour, holding the door, or saying thank you for the waitress.
How did someone else show kindness to me? Finally, a very important one is to ask kids to reflect on how someone else showed kindness to them. Being able to receive love is a very hard practice and we want to start them off early. That way, they can learn to express gratitude and see the good in the world. Ask them how this made them feel.
Teaching kids to be kind to themselves and others is an ongoing practice. Using affirmations along with a reflection exercise is just one of the many ways we can help cultivate this in children. As parents, caregivers, and educators, let's continue to encourage and model kindness, empathy, and compassion in our children, creating a better world for everyone.
"I am kind. To myself, my family, my friends, and others" is part of Metta Play's Bilingual Affirmation Card pack available in Mandarin, French and Indonesian here https://mettaplay.com/products/affirmation-cards