Early Learning and Elementary Science of Kindness 2021
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Early learning and Elementary- January 2021
The Science of Kindness
Kindness is about treating those around you with genuine care, compassion, concern, and acceptance. Sometimes kindness is mistakenly associated with naivety or weakness, which can cause some people to try to avoid being labeled as kind.

But kindness isn’t a weakness. In fact, demonstrating kindness can sometimes require real bravery and strength of character. Often times it takes courage to be kind.
 chemicals of Kindness
Most research on the science behind why kindness makes us feel better has centered around oxytocin.

Sometimes called "the love hormone," oxytocin plays a role in forming social bonds and trusting other people. It's the hormone mothers produce when they breastfeed, cementing their bond with their babies.

Studies have also linked acts of kindness to releasing dopamine, a chemical in the brain that can give us a feeling of euphoria and is credited with causing what's known as a "helper's high."

In addition to boosting oxytocin and dopamine, being kind can also increase serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood.

A simple act of kindness can reward our bodies and minds with feel-good chemical substances. However, the effect isn't lasting. Acts of kindness have to be repeated, That's why kindness is most beneficial as a practice—something you work into your daily routine. 
the science of kindness
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There are scientifically proven benefits to being kind! It is contagious, teachable, and makes you feel all fuzzy inside.
 the Kindness gap
Despite parents saying that kindness is one of the most important qualities they want their children to have studies have found that 80% of kids surveyed reported that achievement or happiness was the most important thing to their parents – and to them. 
That’s not to say that caring doesn’t matter for our kids – it does – but there’s a gap between what parents report as being a top priority for their children and what the children perceive those priorities to be.
Kindness is learned
The good news is that kindness is learned; and just like any other behavior, it can be taught through repetition. The most dominant way children learn new behaviors is by copying those around them. Mirror neurons are cells in the brain that wire us for imitation, and they're especially active during childhood.
When kids observe an action, their brains respond as if they are performing the action themselves. Their brains form new neural pathways, and these create the basis for behaviors that stick with them throughout their lives. 
Which means we adults have a powerful opportunity, and responsibility, to teach by example. So if you want to encourage more kindness in your kids, and in the world, read on for some helpful ways to do that.
talk to them as though it's who they are
Children want to do good things, but even more than that, they want to be good people. Help them to develop their identity as kind, compassionate, empathic humans by talking to them as though they already have these qualities.

Research has found that talking about
pro-social qualities as a part of who your children are rather than something they do will help to foster those qualities. Rather than talking about their kind behaviour (what you did was really kind) try putting the focus on them as a kind  person (I love that you are kind).

Make kindness a priority

Children need to hear from parents that caring for others is a top priority. Make sure that everyone in the family is held to high standards in relation to the way they treat each other. They can be angry, grumpy, stressed or tired, but speaking to anyone disrespectfully is a no-go. They’ll slip up and so will you – none of us are beacons of kindness all the time. When you do mess up apologize, so they can see how it’s done and that it’s really okay to admit that you get it wrong sometimes. 

Make sure that your children address all the people in their daily lives, such as a bus driver or a waitress with respect, even when they’re tired, distracted, or angry. You can model caring when you interact with other adults in your children’s lives. 

Help kids get involved in taking ownership of a kindness culture in your home. Creating a poster helps with their excitement and

15 Surprising Things to Ban to Raise Kind Kids

provide opportunities to be kind!
Provide opportunities for your children to care about people or pets they’re close to. Ask them to help with dinner, feed the family pet, read a story to a younger sibling or help with lunches. 

As they get older widen the circle. The goal is to help your children learn to care about someone outside their circle, such as the new kid in class, someone who doesn’t speak their language, or someone who lives in a distant country.

Let them see you show concern when kids on the other team get hurt, or ask them how the new child in class is doing. As they mature you can begin to talk to them about what’s happening in different cities, countries and cultures.
Then, make sure they are also looked after and shown nurturing by others in the family, so they can feel the kindness coming back to them.
notice generosity
Help your kids to notice generosity because they are likely to be inspired to do something generous themselves. According to research adults that simply observe kindness and generosity are activated to do more acts of good themselves. More research will show if this effect is true for kids – but an educated guess is that it is!
encourage gratitude
Research has shown that people who practice being grateful are more likely to be helpful, generous, compassionate and forgiving. Ask your kids to name three things they’re grateful for. Then let them know three things you appreciate – make sure at least one of them is about them and something they’ve done that is kind or generous. Kids love hearing about themselves so you’ll have them on board for this one!
be kind to yourself
Just as important as it is to be kind to others, it‘s equally important to practice kindness towards yourself. This is often referred to as self compassion. 

Self-compassion entails being warm and understanding toward ourselves when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate, rather than ignoring our pain or belittling ourselves with self-criticism

Forgiving and nurturing yourself can set the stage for better health and relationships. It can also lower levels of anxiety and depression as self-compassionate people are kind to themselves when they are suffering, which reduces their anxiety and related depression.
As always, modelling the behaviour is the best way for your children to learn to be kind to themselves. If you make a mistake rather than criticizing yourself, you can say, "I made a mistake and that is okay, I did my best. I will know better for next time."
Help your kids to integrate self compassion practices into their everyday routines right now so that it feels natural to do it even when they‘re adults. They can do that by being kind to their own bodies, demonstrating grit, standing up for themselves, and maintaining life balance. Following are some specific practices you can encourage and support:
Eat healthy foods 

Choose play/exercise over screen time

Listen to their bodies and act on their needs  ("I‘m tired. Can I lay down?” or “I‘m hungry. May I have something to eat?”) 

Ask for help, instead of getting frustrated, crying or giving up.
Use their words to advocate for themselves
(“Please stop interrupting me.”) 

Think of what they would say to a good friend in the same situation, and do that for themselves.

A fun activity is to have them write a love letter to themselves.
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2 Minute Tips - How to Practice Self Compassion- Kristin Neff




kindness is like a muscle
Kindness is like a muscle. Use it or lose it. Kindness with strength is one of the greatest things we can nurture in our kids. That means being kind to others, expecting kindness from others, and being kind to themselves. If they can get that sorted, they’re pretty much well on their way to a gratifying life!




kindness poster contest!
The poster contest below has been distributed to all of our schools. However if your child's school/class is not participating in the contest they may produce a poster at home and submit to win the same prizes! Posters will be chosen from elementary, middle and secondary.
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child And Youth Mental Health during a Pandemic
Calling parents and youth in BC!  The MyHEARTSMAP team needs your help to measure how much and in what ways the changes in our lives during the pandemic have affected the social and psychological wellness of our children and youth.  Learning about our children's needs will help guide our provincial mental health resource planning. CLICK HERE to read more or participate in the study.
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most read snapshot of 2020
Click What do you think was the most popular Snapshot of 2020?

A. Resilience in Uncertain Times
B. Helping Children Manage Emotions
C. Family Relationships
D. Helping Children Navigate Worry and Fear
E. Play and Laughter as Wellness Tools

Click on the book to find out!




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