A Positive Social Experience For Your Child
We could all benefit from a little kindness, don’t you think? What if we told you parents, through organization and involvement, could help bolster kindness in schools? Now that we have your attention, Orange County, read on to learn more.
Many elementary and middle schools already have a Kindness Club in place. If so, inquire with the principal or AP at your child’s school. His or her teacher may also have connections to school clubs. These clubs have popped up throughout southern California, and across the country, as a positive response to bullying and other social issues at schools. If your local school is not currently participating in a Kindness Club, now would be a great time to suggest it to the principal or school district or even start your own. If your little one attends a private school, you could arrange for an after school gathering through the PTA.
Many children who participate in such a club starting at an early age can benefit from so many positive social experiences. For example, they will be less likely to stand by while bullying occurs, be less likely to be bullied themselves and potentially stop them from becoming a bully. One local club is called “It’s Cool to be Kind”, this is such a great name because it sets the precedence that indeed it is cool to be a nice person and, alternatively, it’s not at all cool to be mean or cruel.
The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation (RAK) suggests a few ways you and your kid can participate in kindness at school. For instance, make T-shirts together as a group so that your kid can show his or her commitment to be kind, or organize food or clothing drives to help less fortunate children.
One thing that I really enjoyed doing with the children at school was completing a group art project. Kids can get a bit nervous about letting a classmate finish a picture that they had already started, and we had to work through a lot of normal social issues during these projects. It forced the kids to learn how to share; how to ask for the materials nicely and how to give compliments to each others’ finished projects. A great way to help them share is to put out only enough materials for ¾ of the students participating. This way, they can practice asking for things nicely and saying “please” and “thank you”.
If art isn’t your thing, baking projects can be tons of fun for young kids to work on together. Plus, at the end there are a couple dozen good old fashioned chocolate chip cookies to share. Cooking projects can also lead to school bake sales where the money earned can be donated to a good cause or to purchasing T-shirt supplies for the club.
Another great activity for the kids to do with their clubs is to visit an animal shelter – check out the city of Irvine, CA, Animal Shelter page. The Animal Rescue League of Berks County, Pennsylvania allows kids 6-13 to visit the cats in their shelter and read to them. You may have already seen the adorable YouTube video, so why not do something similar right here in Orange County? Also, if you happen to have a high-schooler at home, many of these activities can count as volunteer hours towards graduation and college admission.
The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation recommends that you keep it simple. One of the main points is to realize how easy it is to just be nice to somebody, whether they are a friend or not.
Below is a list of ideas to help your kids get started with kindness. Some come our private Orange County tutors at TutorNerds and some from RAK:
1– Give out candy or fruit to all your teachers (don’t leave anyone out).
2- Leave a “thank you” note for your school’s custodian since s/he cleans up every night
3 – Encourage your child to say phrases like “great effort” or “good job” at all sport activities for young kids.
4 – Help an older person to cross the street (this helps kids understand how important it is to take care of our elders) as well as thanking US military service men and woman and veterans for their services.
5 – Work on lending a helping hand. This could be a small gesture such as giving a piece of paper to a classmate who has just run out or a very big thing like volunteering at your local homeless shelter.
6 – Hold the door open for someone who has their hands full.
7 – Do a project together. This could be something similar to the art and baking projects mentioned above or something very simple like having the kids make a snack together or help each other fit all of those books into their back pack at the end of the school day.
8 – Form a study group. If your little one excels in English, find a study buddy who excels in math and let them help each other out.
9 – Have the kids do a small cleaning project together. Taking on responsibility together can be a great start to kindness in general.
10 – Create a star chart (or heart chart or smile chart) and reward your kid with a small gift or treat when they reach a goal. I recommend starting with 10 stars for K-2nd older kids.
Another really important way to help those little guys learn to be kind to others is for them to be kind to themselves. High school aged teens have so much to go through with AP classes, SAT prep and college applications. So, it makes it even more important for younger children to learn how to pace themselves and be able to give themselves little breaks in between tasks. Many children will be more likely to participate in a sport or academic activity if they know it’s okay to fail, as long as they can learn from that experience, and do a better job next time. Being kind to one’s self makes it easier to help out others.
Whatever you decide to do, or whichever club your kid decides to join, kindness can be integrated into any activity. A simple nice word or small gesture can make a huge difference at the end of the day!
Working with over 1,500 Orange County students to achieve success has been a great pleasure to us at TutorNerds. Our college educated private Irvine tutors know the importance of a simple “thank you.” Working one-on-one with a mature, kind tutor sets a great standard for your student. Contact us today for your TutorNerds summer tutor.
All blog entries are written by Tutor Nerds. Are you an education professional, in Orange County, CA, or other relevant blogger? If so, email us at [email protected] for guest blogging and collaborations.
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