National Children’s Day UK (NCDUK) is all about the importance of a healthy childhood, and how we need to protect the rights and freedoms of children and young people.
Why is kindness so important?
Because happy, healthy and kind children create flourishing societies.
“This year we are not only promoting kindness, but we are prioritising the need for us to better understand the roots of unkindness – so that together we can create the conditions for a more peaceful and caring world”
– Wendy Ellyatt, Chief Executive, Save Childhood Movement
Covid has shown everyone the huge importance of kindness. The act of being friendly, generous, and considerate costs nothing, but the impact of kindness on an individual can be immense. Not only does it affect how we feel but it also affects us physically. Hormones are released and stress levels are lowered in measurable ways. Mood is enhanced and anxiety and depression improve. Loneliness is particularly helped by acts of kindness. Two thirds of people who chose to take part in Sussex University’s 2021 Kindness Test, the world’s largest public study of kindness, believe that the Covid-19 pandemic has made people more kind.
A lack of kindness can have a huge affect on our children.
Out of 12,2387 UK students, 27% identified their bullying experiences as cyberbullying in 2021, online bullying facts confirm (Mental Health Foundation).
Cyberbullying is a big problem and is even more worrying as children are not escaping their bullies in the safety of their own homes and bedrooms.
- 19% of victims said that cyberbullying in UK schools happened entirely during school hours. Swearing and offensive messages were the top forms of cyberbullying in 2020.
- 92% of the students knew their bullies from real life, while 91% knew online harassers. This indicates that anonymity does not necessarily fuel cyberbullying.
- Sadly just 48% of bullied students informed their parents about the issue.
- The second most widespread form of online harassment was the spreading of rumours online, 22% of the respondents indicated this form of bullying.
- A higher proportion (36%) of young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) reported being bullied. The rate was 29% among their peers.
How do we teach children to be kind?
Mind body Green has some great ideas to help our children be more kind to everyone around them. Here are five easy steps to help teach your child about kindness.
Talk about your own feelings
Show your child a card sent from a friend or a helpful thing someone has done for you that day and how it has made you feel, happy, appreciated or loved.
Let your child see you being kind to other people.
When your child sees you being kind to others they are much more likely to be kind themselves. If you send a birthday card let your child help you to post it and let them that you are sending a card as it’s a kind thing to do or let them know you are making a friend that cup of coffee as they’ve had a long day and it makes them feel better.
Read books and stories that talk about being kind to show children how easy it can be to be kind and the difference it can make to someone’s day.
Reading and talking about kindness are an easy way for children to learn about kindness every day. Check out our Books on Kindness blog post for some of our favourites.
Praise your child when they are being kind by sharing toys giving a cuddle or thinking of other people.
Simply praising your child for being kind is a great way for them to realise when they are being kind, builds self -esteem and makes them much more likely to be kind again.
Practice small acts of kindness with your child
Drawing a picture for a friend or relative, telling important people that they love them or simply giving someone a cuddle are easy ways your child can be kind.