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How to Teach Kindness to Students at the Elementary Level in 2023

If you are an elementary teacher looking to learn how to help your students be kind, then you found the right place! Kindness prepares kids to welcome others and be thoughtful about the feelings of others. Students who are kind are able to more easily make friends than students who are not. In this post, we’ll go into detail about what kindness is and why it’s important. In addition, we’ll share tips and ideas for how to teach kindness skills to students in an elementary classroom setting. Read all about helping students be kind in and out of the classroom below!

What Does Kindness Mean?

Kindness means being friendly, generous and considerate. It means thinking about other people and how our words and actions affect them. It means thinking beyond ourselves and being concerned about other people. 

Why is it Important for Kids to Learn about Kindness?

It is important for kids to learn about kindness because it teaches them to be mindful of their words and actions. Learning about kindness teaches kids to be aware of others around them and what they might be needing, thinking or feeling. Students who know about the importance of kindness want to spread happiness and are concerned about the well-being of others. 

How Do I Know If I Need to Teach Kindness in My Classroom?

The students in your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th grade classroom would benefit from kindness lessons and activities if any of these statements are true:

  • Students are mostly concerned about themselves.
  • Students have a hard time noticing others around them.
  • They are using unkind words.
  • Students are being more physical with each other.
  • Students have been teasing or taunting each other.

5 Reasons To Promote Kindness In Your Elementary Classroom

Below are 5 reasons to teach kindness to your elementary students.

1. Teaching kindness creates a safe and welcoming environment 

When kids think about the people in their classroom community and do kind things for them or say kind words, it makes the people in the classroom more connected. Knowing that students are going to greet and treat people with kindness also creates a more welcoming environment. Your classroom community will thrive with kids helping each other and showing compassion for each other. 

2. Teaching kindness forces kids to think about others 

It is not a secret that kids, like most people, spend a lot of time thinking about themselves. Teaching kindness causes kids to think about others and the different things they can do to make people happy and show appreciation. One great way to be kind is to help others. 

3. Teaching kindness teaches kids to act like their best selves

Teaching kindness shows kids how to behave like their best selves. It highlights doing good for others and caring about others. Kindness shines a light on positivity and welcoming and how doing those two things reflects on who we are as a person. 

4. Teaching kindness is a proactive approach to preventing bullying

Teaching your class kindness is a proactive step towards bullying prevention. By addressing kindness first, you are showing that unkindness is not tolerated in the classroom and you are teaching all the expected ways to behave and be kind towards others. 

5. Teaching kindness fosters positive friendships 

Equipping students with strategies for being kind and an understanding of being kind makes them a better friend to others. Teaching kindness helps create positive and collaborative friendships where all members are equal. It also highlights that you don’t want to be spending a lot of time with someone who is unkind to you. 

5 Tips and Ideas for How to Teach Kindness 

1. Read Aloud Picture Books about Kindness

Picture books are a great way to introduce and teach an SEL topic. It gets students thinking about the topic and activating their background knowledge. Check out this list of picture books for teaching kindness!

2. Watch Videos about Kindness

There are tons of free online videos out there that promote social emotional learning. It’s a fun and engaging way to teach SEL skills that your students will enjoy. Check out these videos for teaching kindness!

Vocabulary words can help students develop an understanding of kindness and create connections through related words. Our kindness SEL unit includes ten vocabulary cards with words related to the SEL topic. It is important for students to be able to see, hear, and use relevant vocabulary while learning. One idea for how to use them is to create an SEL word wall as students learn the words.

4. Provide Practice Opportunities

When learning any skill, students need time to practice. Social emotional learning skills are no different! Our kindness SEL unit includes scenario cards, discussion cards, choice boards, games, and much more. These provide students with opportunities to practice the skills independently, with partners or small groups, or as a whole class.

5. Integrate Other Content Areas

Integrating other content areas with this topic is a great way to approach this SEL topic. Our kindness SEL unit includes reading, writing, and art activities.

Kindness SEL UnitSocial Emotional Learning Units Bundle

In closing, we hope you found this information about how to teach kindness to students helpful! If you did, then you may also be interested in these posts.

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