Blog Series: Empathy and Project Heart Week 6 - Practicing Kindness

June 29, 2020

What is practicing kindness? 

Welcome to week 6 of our deep dive into the “9 Essential Habits that Give Kids the Empathy Advantage” and Dr. Michele Borba’s book Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World." 

This week we're looking at how to practice kindness.

What is practicing kindness? This is probably the one you’re most familiar with; kindness is developing and using compassion every day. We love the way Dr. Borba starts chapter six by telling a story of kids who helped her see that anyone can start a “kindness revolution” and she had three main takeaways. First, kindness is improved by seeing, hearing and practicing kindness regularly. Next, kids are more willing to practice kindness through tasks that cost nothing and are simple to do. Finally, kids need ample opportunities and a lot of encouragement to practice kindness.

Spoiler alert, kindness cannot be taught through worksheets! If we want kids to be unselfish, happier, popular and kinder then we all need to practice kindness more. Remember habit two, moral identity? We discussed ways to offer praise about character instead of achievement and that works for kindness, too! Compliment your child or student when you see them behaving in kind ways and be sure to name what they did and the effect it has on someone else. “Wow, did you see Mr. Robinson smile when you waved and said ‘hi’? You made him happy and it only took a few seconds of your time!”

Practicing kindness is integral to Project Heart. We define philanthropy as using your 3Ts (time, talent and treasure) to make a positive impact. Kids are prompted to think of ways to use their 3Ts to help others in their school or community. Whether you work with K-3, 4-5, middle school or high school students, there is a series of Project Heart lessons for you HERE! You can find books about kindness, service project ideas, 3Ts game and more on our resources page HERE.

Unlike last week’s habit, practicing kindness is one of the easiest to teach! In addition to all the age-by-age strategies offered in the book, kindness is becoming contagious online and one of our favorites is Random Acts of Kindness. There are many programs for schools, and we recommend starting with Character Strong.

How are you helping to make kindness contagious? Share on social media using #myprojectheart!