Now that the kids are back in school, it’s a good time to discuss bullying at home with your kids. Did you know that the best way to deal with bullies is to have bystanders stand up for the victim? Some schools teach this as part of their curriculum, but this is a good lesson to reinforce at home as well.
Being kind and “choosing kind” is something that I think can be internalized such that it’s a plan and goals that each child defines individually, making it easy to make decisions when faced with a bullying incident.
I think the first place to start is defining kindness and the behavior that demonstrates it. I have three books of with three different takes on Choosing Kind. Let’s start with a picture book that demonstrates different ways kids can choose to be kind.
Teaching Kids to Choose Kind
What Does It Mean to Be Kind? by Rana DiOrio, illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch
The first example that DiOrio defines is something that seems very small, but actually has huge impact.
Being kind means … smiling at the new student in class.
Different scenarios are presented that take different levels of effort.
… sticking up for someone who is being bullied.
… picking up trash that isn’t yours.
And there are kindness ideas that have far reaching effects:
… caring for those less fortunate than you are.
… noticing when someone is sad and taking the time to understand why.
This picture book is a great way to start a discussion to help kids define what kindness means to them, and to help give them concrete ideas of how to spread kindness in the things they do and say every day. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Feathers for Peacock by Jacqueline Jules, illustrated by Helen Cann
This picture book reads like a folk take but it’s actually a newly told story. When the world was new, Peacock did not have the beautiful feathers he has today. Instead, he was bald, like all the birds. The moon is consulted and agrees to help. The birds are to rub against the plants and flowers the next morning, and when they do, they get feathery coats in the colors of the flora. The birds are elated with their new covering and they celebrate all day. Their revelry wakes up Peacock who slept through the day and has missed out. Each bird, out of kindness and empathy, gives Peacock one of his or her feathers. Peacock’s coat is a jumble of colors so the moon helps out again. Peacocks feathers become the glorious colors they are today; a reminder of how beautiful kindness can be. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Wonder by R. J. Palacio
Choose Kind becomes an inspiration for both the kids at Auggie’s school and for readers who are moved by Auggie’s experiences. He has a genetic facial disfigurement and attends school for the first time, entering a private school in New York City. Very few of his classmates are ready to accept him and see him for who he is, though, as the school year progresses, Auggie’s circle of friends starts to grow. And grow. By the end of the school year, Auggie faces bullying from outsiders at a school camping trip, and his school tormentors are won over by his courage. They finally see the person that he is inside. Auggie’s teacher, Mr. Browne, urges his class to Choose Kind and provides inspiration including having the kids send him their own precepts as an optional summer vacation assignment. Use this chapter book to help kids figure out and commit to Choosing Kind. [chapter book, ages 8 and up]
Create Your Rules of Kindness
What would a perfect world look like? It a world in which all kids have the compassion, empathy and courage to stand up for others? Let’s start now! From September 1st through October 17th , generationOn’s Rules of Kindness campaign, powered by Hasbro, challenges kids and teens to build empathy, be kind and show they care! The first step is letting kids make the rules. The rules of kindness, that is!
The Rules of Kindness Campaign is …
- Free and easy! Just sign-up and access tons of great tools and resources.
- A great way for youth to build empathy, practice kindness and make a positive mark in their community.
- Key to building a culture of caring at school, home and in the community.
How Does It Work?
Once signed up, participants use the provided tools and resources to create their kindness rules and plan for putting them into action through service or simple acts. Participants then share their story at generationOn.org/rulesofkindness for a chance to win grants!
It just so happens that kindness pays. Four grand prize winners will receive a $500 grant and an additional 20 will get a $250 grant!
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I’m thrilled to be a Hasbro Kindness Ambassador who has sponsored this post. My opinions, as always, are my own.