My kids started school a couple weeks ago and the new school year always gets me thinking about what I want my kids to learn. Of course, things like math and literacy are important, but it’s more important to me that they learn to be understanding and helpful to others. In a word, I want them to be kind.
The Netflix #StreamTeam is focusing on kindness this month, and here are some great movies and tv shows you can stream on Netflix that reinforce messages of kindness. For older kids:
And for the littler kids, like mine:
- Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Vol. 1, Episode 6: Friends Help Each Other
- My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Season 3, Episode 4: One Bad Apple
- Arthur, Season 15, Episode 8: Muffy’s Classic Classy Club/Best Enemies
- The Hunchback of Notre Dame
- SuperWhy, Season 1, Episode 61: The Ugly Duckling: Becoming a Swan
- The Fox & the Hound
I try to teach my children to be kind. We talk about thinking about other people’s feelings, and being nice, and doing things for others. I realize kids learn from what you do more than from what you say, so I try to show them kindness too and be a good example for them. But I realize this is an important job and I’m not doing it alone; I need reinforcements.
My 4-year-old gets bored listening to me talking about how he should share with his brother and take turns, and often can’t wait to escape the conversation to go watch tv. I love it when 10 minutes after I felt like the message wasn’t getting through to him, he starts singing along with Daniel Tiger, “You can take a turn, and then I’ll get it back.” I often hear him repeating these messages later in the day when he’s playing. Sometimes that message that’s boring (or worse – completely ignored!) coming from me, is embraced when it’s coming from some of his favorite characters, like SuperWhy, Arthur, and Daniel Tiger. It probably helps a lot that he enjoys watching the shows and doesn’t even realize they’re learning something from them!
My 6-year-old is in school all day now, so there’s not as much time for tv, but he spent a lot of time watching characters like Arthur and SuperWhy teaching about kindness. Last year he often told us about a classmate who seemed to be struggling in school; he got scolded often and got very frustrated. Cooper kept his distance in the early part of the year, not wanting to get scolded too, but they eventually became good friends. I’d often ask about how he was doing and whether he was still having problems in school, and I was pleased to hear he seemed to be adjusting and doing better. At the end of the school year I attended a school function and was able to see them interacting together. My heart nearly exploded when I saw him getting a little rambunctious and scolded by the teacher, and I saw my son talking to him, helping him to calm down, and redirecting him. I couldn’t have been happier! My kids often fight and argue, and misbehave at home, but clearly the message was getting through!
I like to find activities to reinforce kindness and encourage my kids to do kind things. This kindness punch box makes helping others extra fun. (And FUN is often the key to learning!)
This is a simple project you can create with some supplies you probably already have in your home, and it will encourage kids to put kindness into action.
How do you teach kindness? I’d love to hear about shows or movies, games, or activities you use to encourage your children to be kind!