Fostering acts of kindness is more important for humanity than ever before. To begin, we need to understand the social and emotional importance of teaching kindness at all levels.
In this blog, we’ll explore the connection between social emotional learning and kindness and help you begin thinking about ways to encourage these skills in your children.
SEL and Kindness
The benefits of social and emotional learning (SEL), including improved academic performance, social skills, and attitudes, have been proven to be effective and long-lasting. In addition, SEL can reduce emotional distress, conduct problems, and drug use.
The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) offers this great infographic on why SEL works.
Acts of kindness can support social and emotional learning areas. Activities that focus on improving relationship skills such as active listening, conflict resolution, collaboration, and fostering empathy encourage kindness.
To support the connection between SEL and kindness, parents and teachers can explore the following options.
- Model kindness by setting the example.
- Explain what empathy is and how to be empathetic.
- Encourage your child to give compliments to others.
- Discuss how acts of kindness make your child feel and how others feel when someone is kind to them.
- Celebrate kind acts.
Kindness is Contagious
Kindness is a bug you and your children want to catch, and there’s lots of science to back it up. Studies have shown that acts of kindness can boost the chemical messenger in your brain known as dopamine, which increases euphoria. This reaction is known as a “helper’s high.”
Additionally, acts of kindness can increase serotonin levels, which contribute to mood regulation. Kind gestures also boosts oxytocin levels. Known as the “love hormone,” oxytocin helps kids to create bonds to others and to their community.
If those aren’t enough reasons to be kind, consider these health benefits of bestowing kindness.
Check out this infographic from the organization Random Acts of Kindness and Dartmouth University for more information on why kindness is good for your health.
Being kind doesn’t mean you have to perform a grand gesture. Small acts can easily spread kindness and are often more achievable. Check out this list 50 small acts of kindness for ideas.
And remember, being kind to yourself is just as important as being kind to others.
Amanda Clear is a senior manager for Lincoln Learning Solutions and has been with the company for four years. The scope of her works includes promoting the integration of social and emotional learning and other educational movements into the Lincoln Empowered curriculum content. Amanda has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and is currently working towards a Masters in Applied Psychology. She is married with two very active toddler boys. Amanda is a veteran of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. She is merging her passion for veterans and mental health by serving as a volunteer ambassador for Mission 22.