The past two years and more have influenced both children and adults in more ways than we can understand. Children have seemingly lost their connection with those around them; they have become technology addicts and have lost their ability to socialize. This has led them to be self-centered, selfish, and insensitive to the ones around them. They often become anxious about the present, resentful about the past, and worried about the future. Adults too face a similar challenge in their day-to-day lives.
Coming back to school, showcases these effects in many children’s interactions with their peers and teachers alike. Short attention spans, super sensitive reactions, insensitivity to others, lack of desire to follow instructions, lack of respect for peers and teachers, and a lack of politeness bordering on being rude are some of their visible behavioral patterns.
The teacher faces the brunt of this and has been tasked with bringing a sense of order both in their behavior and the way they think.
To inculcate a peaceful and mindful atmosphere in the classroom environment, the teacher must be intentional and decisive in his/her efforts to realign children’s thoughts, words, and deeds.
Kindness is key to bringing our children to think outside of themselves, to think of others, and consciously consider actions that will promote an atmosphere of peace and happiness in the classroom and at home. Kindness has an impact on the well-being of a child and in turn, encourages well-being in others.
To develop this in the classroom, there are a few pointers that the teacher can encourage. They are:
Be a role model of the behavior you would want your children to follow. Intentionally encourage your children with kind words and compliments. Take time out to do this in the classroom setting. Show children that they can find good in every situation. Help them see that by speaking words that build rather than words that pull down, we can make a big difference. Also, something as simple as a smile can be a great tool.
Having shown what needs to be done, encourage children to do the same. Appreciate them for doing it. Set aside specific times in class to practice this.
Encourage children to share their resources. Look out for opportunities to help and share with others. During craft, project work, and playtime, be sensitive to others’ needs and concerns. Remind them to reach out to help their peers in need. Help them develop random acts of kindness.
Help the children to list out activities and chores at home that they can get involved in. Follow up with them to see whether they have done this. The more they do it both in school and at home, the quicker they become habituated to doing it.
Encourage children to vocalize their appreciation and love for others both in class and at home. The more they hear each other doing it, the more they are motivated to do it.
Bring a smile to your face. Help the children to list out things they can do and say to bring a smile to someone’s face – those at home, at school, and those they meet along the way.
Developing and encouraging kindness in the class helps reduce anxiety, stress, and self-centeredness. It benefits the teacher, it benefits the children and most definitely benefits their families and in time, will benefit society too.