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Grandparents Teach, too

UCLA researchers: Kind children are healthier

Sabin, Davis, Hetrick, Anderegg, Macalady, Walker, Darling and Katers

Children and adults who know how to be nice tend to be healthier. Darnell Hunt and Daniel Fessler from UCLA have been studying kindness and what it does to the body. They say that receiving kindness from others and providing kindness are good for our health. Engaging in kindness, contemplating how you can be kind to others lowers the blood pressure, treats depression and anxiety. In fact, Human Resources Departments are looking for skilled nice people. The Lego League Robotics Program calls this Gracious Professionalism. According to the Father Marquette Catholic Academy Lego Team it means, “Being just as worried about other people as we are about ourselves. A Gracious Professional wants to help everyone to do their best.”

How can we teach children to be kind? It doesn’t infer children don’t need to stick up for themselves or they shouldn’t call out bullying. It suggests our children can learn to generally be nice to others and even help prevent cruelty and fix wrongs in a nice way with adults’ help. Sometimes they do get caught up in cruel situations and nice adults need to step up.

Teaching Kindness

Here are some tips from verywellfamily.com. First and foremost is “Do Unto Others,” the Golden Rule. We can teach young children to put themselves in another’s shoes. Pause before you criticize and unfortunately say something that would hurt you if someone said it to you. You can practice this with your children. Think of situations where classmates might criticize each other. Empathy is a part of kindness. Criticism, gossip and making fun of others are not.

Choose Your Words

“If you cannot say something nice, don’t say anything mean or say nothing at all.” You can teach children to say positive things that will make someone feel good rather than sad. Practice situations. Even if a classmate’s drawing is not the best, find something positive to say about it, for example, “Nice house.”

Although children must be taught about stranger danger, acquaintance danger and procedures when lost, it’s also a good idea to get children into the habit of being friendly, smiling and finding something nice to say to someone. Show children how to be nice to a checkout person. They can say with a smile, “Thank you and have a nice day.”

Teaching good manners like please, thank you, greeting and being respectful goes a long way.

Kind children know they don’t get everything they want. They need to be patient, thankful and have self-control.

Families can keep vigilant for bullying and cyberbullying. Teach children not to join bullying. Get help. It is not tattling.

Finally, be nice to your own children. Try to speak in a kind way to them. For more see grandparentsteachtoo.blogspot.com and wnmufm.org/Learning Through the Seasons.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Grandparents Teach, Too is a non-profit organization of elementary and preschool teachers from Marquette, Michigan. The writers include: Jan Sabin, Mary Davis, Jean Hetrick, Cheryl Anderegg, Esther Macalady, Colleen Walker, Fran Darling, and Iris Katers. Their mission since 2009 is to help parents, grandparents, and other caregivers of young children provide fun activities to help prepare young children for school and a life long love of learning. They are supported by Great Start, Parent Awareness of Michigan, the U.P. Association for the Education of Young Children, Northern Michigan School of Education, the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum and the Northern Michigan University Center for Economic Education.