Updated: Aug 11, 2020
“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness” Dalai Lama
We all know that kindness is important. We hear it in the news on social media. But what is kindness
? Why is it so important? And how do we we teach it to our children?
What is Kindness?
I think most people have a general idea of what kindness is, however it can be a bit confusing. Kindness generally describes how a person behaves. The behaviours that we expect to see from a “kind” person are compassion, empathy, genuineness and generosity. When most people think about kindness they think about how we act towards other people, but there is a growing body of movement suggesting being kind to ourselves is just as important.
So why is kindness so Important for both adults and children?
Improves self esteem - improves sense of self worth and belonging. Also thought to improve levels of optimism.
Improves concentration - because being kind improves how we feel, this is linked to an increased ability to concentrate and be more creative.
Reduces levels of depression - research has shown that acts of kindness can increase levels of serotonin in the brain for both the giver and receiver.
Improves your immune system and health.
Creates a greater sense of connection between people and improves relationships.
Helps produce oxytocin which helps to reduce blood pressure and protects to heart.
Being kind to ourselves improves feelings of confidence.
How do we practice kindness?
Seeing and recognising when others are struggling is a good place to start. If you see this think about what you can do to help. It doesn’t have to be much, a kind word, holding the door open, walking with someone can all be acts of kindness.
Celebrating others successes. Kindness is to be openly happy for the other person, even if you may want what they’ve achieved or what they’ve got. Kindness is whole heartedly celebrating someone’s success and not minimising it, bringing you the problems with it or dismissing it.
We also need to demonstrate kindness to ourselves. Do we treat ourselves kindly? Forgive ourselves when we make mistakes? Do we speak to ourselves how we would want our friends and family to speak to themselves? Do we take care of ourselves- our physical, mental and emotional health?
Can young children practice kindness?
Of course! They just need a role model.
The first step is always talking to your child about kindness. What is it? Read a book. Explain to them the different ways they can be kind to others and themselves.
Secondly thinking of different ways you can do something for others. We have recently spent a lot of time making Kindness Stones that we are in the process of putting out everywhere we go. Little treasures, that I know if my kids found they would be over the moon with. It doesn’t matter how small the act, it’s the learning that goes with it. Saying thank you, please. My children have discovered throughout lockdown that just smiling at someone or saying hi when we are out walking has a very positive impact on them and others.
Kindness matters, both to the giver and the receiver and if that’s the cases everyone wins and surely that can’t be a bad thing!