I declare January to be kindness month!
We tell children to “be kind”, “be nice”. What do they really mean for them? As adults, we understand that it means having compassion for one another, showing empathy, being selfless and helping others, using gentle words and gentle hands with each other, and caring for one another, etc. These things, they’re are very abstract, vague, and broad. No wonder children keep experimenting and testing to see what we mean.
If I shove my sister today, would it be any different than when I did it the other day?
How about if I do not touch her, but pull my chair out of her? It’s my chair she’s sitting on after all.
What would happen if I took her food and ate it without asking? On a cloudy day? Maybe when daddy isn’t home?
I wondered too, about ways we can explain what it means to be nice and kind. To have grace and courtesy, the very hallmark of the Montessori principles. Here are some ideas I thought about doing:
First, modeling. Children absorb things from their environment. Not just what they see, but also what they hear, and how others treat each other. (Little people have big emotions. Be gentle on yourself if you’re modeling, and yet, they still have them.) They need to see both the good and bad sides of you, too. We are human after all. When you’ve made a mistake, and you sincerely feel remorse over it, then by all means, show what reconciliation looks like in front of the children.
When one of them is hurt, show them how we make sure they’re OK. “Oh no! Are you ok? What can I do to make it better?”
Second, be more specific. What did you mean the last time you said, “be nice”?
You can show them how to use their words, “Jiejie, may I play with you?”
“When you are done, may I have a turn?”
Another is using resources you have at your library, books!
Here is a short list of books I have acquired from the library for preschoolers that uses simple words, explaining through story what it means to be kind.
As I was looking through the library for books about kindness, many of the books begin by showing how one person is not treated kindly, and then a lesson in the end. I have found that these sort of story lines do not jive well with children. They get stuck on the negatives, instead of the positive lesson in the end. I specifically avoid books like that. The books above have nothing but positives within the story. Enjoy!
Stay kind to each other. 💕 Have a great rest of the week! Thank you for stopping by.