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“How the Child Thinks and the Way the Teacher Reacts” – Noticing Kindness-Part 4

Final thoughts on noticing kindness. If you focused more on the children’s actions, you’re not alone. When it comes to children, our attention is often drawn more to the crying baby, the grabbing preschooler, or the siblings who stubbornly sits on top of each other. We want to teach our children kindness, yet the unkind acts often stand out more for us. That’s because what we focus on is what we value, and that, in turn, leads to more of a similar kind of behavior.

All children misbehave or act up from time to time. But they are also natural-born contributors to the welfare of others at all ages. Think about it — a baby smiles at an elderly man in the store, bringing them both joy. A preschooler tucks a crayon in his pocket so he and a friend can draw later. An 8 year old scoots over on the couch to make room for his sister. Children create moments of kindness, helpfulness, and compassion all around us.

The key to raising children who actively demonstrate kindness, helpfulness, and compassion is to train our minds to notice those acts when they occur. Noticing children’s kindness, and praising it, not only encourages more of that kind of behavior, it has other benefits as well. It expands a child’s consciousness, fosters the rooting of a positive value system, and primes the brain for future success in school, society, and life.

Next time a little about envy and jealousy.

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5 comments on ““How the Child Thinks and the Way the Teacher Reacts” – Noticing Kindness-Part 4

  1. I agree with everything you have stated!

    1. Kindness is an interesting concept. Humans are of a ‘kind’ and ‘kindness’ is an inherent part of being human. It is very important to see ‘behind’ behaviour and what drives it. That is a component of true compassion as we attempt to recognise and respect others, children in particular. Loving kindness towards others is labelled as maitri in sanskrit. Loving oneself, e.g. having positive self esteem promotes loving kindness towards others. It is vital to model loving kindness in order for children to have a frame of reference related to acts of kindness, allied with praise and reassurance. I worked for over 30 years with children, many of them had pitifully low self esteem. True positive regard, no matter what, enabled the children to feel valued and safe. I think all people who work with children are privileged to be in a position to encourage personal growth on many levels. Acts of kindness is the gift we give to each other.

    2. In addition we adults must model being kind, helpful, and compassionate toward others. Our children are watching us!

  2. how important is this and yet how under rated.

  3. Thank you for sharing this information. As a Montessorian, grace and courtesy is part of our Montessori Method curriculum. Fostering kindness can be successfully implemented by “catching” a child in a moment where he/she could choose to make the better and the kinder choice.
    For example, a child finds an object that belongs to another child, and as the discovery provides delight, intrigue and potential “finders keepers mentality”, instead the teacher notices and comments, “You found Johnny’s missing bead! He will be so thankful that you found it. Thank you for being such a thoughtful friend and giving it to Johnny.”
    I have found situations such as these time and time again, and responding to the child as previously stated, that generates even more kindness, more thoughtfulness and overall classroom family and community support.

    Thank you, Bill for providing the opportunity to share.


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