An act of kindness can go a long way at any point in a human’s life, especially during the primary developmental stages of childhood. Children require a healthy dose of kindness to enhance well-rounded growth into adulthood. School-based wellness organizations such as Brain Power Wellness have implemented the critical practice of kindness into their programs to find that the benefits for children who participate are tremendous. In the spirit of the New Year and to consider what kindness means to others, Brain Power Wellness reviews the importance of kindness in the classroom and how teachers can implement the practice into their own teachings.
1. Fuel Care, Happiness, and Gratitude
When engaging in or receiving kindness, any experience of good feelings results from endorphins. Kindness can activate parts of the brain that produce endorphins, and these good feelings can be contagious, resulting in a domino effect of kind behavior, otherwise known as altruism.
Kindness also fuels gratitude, and when children have the opportunity to help others, they are guided with an empathetic perspective. Teachers can bring this practice into the classroom when a student is out sick. The teacher can ask other students in the classroom to write “get well” cards to the student who is ill and send them to the sick student’s parents or have the cards waiting on the student’s desk when they return.
2. Reduce Stress
Altruistic actions, such as showing or receiving kindness, activates the hormone oxytocin. This hormone can elevate happiness and lower stress levels by decreasing cortisol levels. Teachers can help their students start the day less stressed by facilitating a morning meeting revolving around kindness. A morning meeting can consist of students greeting one another with kindness and responding to one another with empathy. Another piece that a morning meeting can consist of is a topic of kindness discussed as a group.
3. Boost Self-Esteem
The flood of endorphins that comes with doing a good deed is often referred to as a “helper’s high” and is proven through studies to increase one’s sense of well-being. The release of the hormone oxytocin, triggered by acts of kindness, increases optimism and self-esteem. Teachers can create a “Kindness Corner” with books available to students revolving around kindness to help students come up with ideas on how to help others, ultimately giving them tools to help boost their own self-esteem.
4. Increase Concentration
When a child is involved in kindness, serotonin levels increase. A rise in serotonin levels affects mood, memory, sleep, digestion, health, and learning. During a recent Brain Power Wellness retreat, teachers were able to experience hands-on how teaching kindness in a classroom can boost classroom productivity and concentration. Kindness in the classroom also helps to elevate peer acceptance. A great way to spread kindness in the classroom is for teachers to start a “kindness train” at the beginning of the day. One student starts the kindness train by doing one act of kindness for another student. The receiver of that act of kindness is responsible for continuing the kindness train by being kind to a different student somehow. The kindness train continues until every student has experienced at least one act of kindness during the day.
About Brain Power Wellness
Brain Power Wellness is a school-based wellness company that supports healthier school environments. Transforming partner schools through self-development, mindfulness, community building, retreats, SEL, holistic wellness, and brain training, Brain Power Wellness helps teachers, students, parents, and administrators. Since 2007, it has impacted more than 25,000 teachers and half a million students in 500 schools worldwide.