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2 Ways to Teach Children to Be Kindhearted

Now is the time to do our part in creating a society that values life, love, understanding, acceptance, compassion, mutual respect, and empathy. Now is the time to take responsibility for teaching our kids a skill set that helps them recognize the good in one another and themselves. All this starting with our own words as caregivers, and then extending to all those around us. We must model the way for our children. Children cannot become what they can’t see and hear from us. Your words matter more than you know. How you relate to yourself matters most. Exemplify SELF-LOVE and your child will follow in your footsteps. The more we accept and love ourselves the more we can accept and love others.

“Supporting social and emotional growth at home impacts not only the children but the entire family,” says Sara LaHayne, founder of Move This World, a social and emotional learning (SEL) program. “When children and their grown-ups have the tools to navigate stressors, challenges, changes, and really big emotions, we build more emotionally resilient families and communities.”

Increase your families Social and Emotional Intelligence by:

Increasing Your Family’s Social and Emotional Vocabulary

Increasing your family’s social and emotional vocabulary will afford your household the ability to navigate the ‘social hiccups’ and effectively express themselves whether the situation is challenging or positive. Language is powerful and our words matter. What better way to enhance communication than building vocabulary?

The How To - For Yourself and Your Family:

  • Define different emotions as a family and talk about them. The more feelings we can understand, the more capable we are to express them in a prosocial manner.
  • For example, the next time your child is undergoing a stressful situation, ask them to label what they’re feeling. Are they anxious? Upset? Embarrassed? Give them word choices if they can’t label their emotions readily, then have them say aloud: “I feel_(chosen emotion(s))_____ because of _______.” Then, help them think of a solution that will move them away from that negative emotion and into an emotion they desire: like happiness, a sense of belonging, or pride.
  • We encourage you to print out Elevate’s "Wall Of Emotions" poster, found in the Home Grown online course, which you can print and stick to your fridge, child's bulletin board, or bedroom wall! This makes this practice easy while serving to increase your child’s social and emotional vocabulary on a daily basis.

We all need to practice reengaging in healthy social activities, reconnecting with friends, confidently creating healthy new relationships through the positive words we share in our relationships, and most importantly in the relationship we have with ourselves.

Positive Self-Talk

Mary Alvord, co-author of “Resilience Builder Program for Children and Adolescents” tells us, “At the core, resilience is the belief that while you can’t control everything in your life, there are many aspects you can control, including your attitude.”

Our attitudes are built on the words we tell ourselves. Most of us have an inner dialogue that is constantly running through our minds that is not in service to living into our best selves. Our children experience this inner dialogue, too. 

So how do you stop the chatter and redo the record?  A record that plays the tune and words that will support, encourage, and strengthen your relationship with yourself. Positive self-talk ultimately allows you to access a place of empowerment inside yourself by deciding to let go of the words that hold you down and choose the positive self-talk that lifts you up. When we engage in positive self-talk, we naturally engage with others in the same way.

The How to For Yourself and Your Family:

  • Emphasize your attention on what you want, rather than wallowing on what you do not want.
  • Practice by: Identifying areas in life that are uncomfortable or a concern.
  • Pinpoint how your self-talk is negative and not helping to shift the situation.
  • Role play with your family new ways to engage in positive self-talk that would help you feel better about the issue.
  • Make sure everyone in your family participates in the process.
  • Always end by acknowledging how well each person did.
  • Try our Affirmation Cards and Poetry

o   You are at an opportune moment to learn the Affirmation practice and gift this practice to your family. The Affirmation practice can be used as a technique to keep your mind focused on the best parts of yourself and the people you love. We make it easy with our tangible Affirmation cards and accompanying poetry, each designed to make this practice fun, easy, and meaningful for your whole family.

Henry David Thoreau said, “As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.’

If we want our lives to change, then we must change…starting with the words we tell ourselves. This practice is not hard.  Start with the awareness that you can control your thoughts, which lead to your words, which are followed by your actions. Living a happy, fulfilled life is a choice. Live into this awareness with every challenging situation. Shift negative self-talk to positive self-talk. Teach this practice to your family and afford your children the skills they need to love themselves.

Support Your Family’s Social and Emotional Awareness with: