When I teach Kindergarten or first-grade children, I always teach my students a little song called “Five Little Bluebirds”. I developed some motions for the song, and always end this subtraction-type song by making a very sad face and saying, “No little bluebirds in the nest.” The kids find this hysterical!
We sing the song through a second time with them joining in with more enthusiasm, and I can see in their mischievous eyes that they cannot wait until we get to the last line and they get to see my sad face AND make a sad face of their own. They laugh with their entire bodies, as 5 and 6-year olds are prone to do - and yes, that means some of them end up “prone” as they fall over on the carpet with laughter.
Whether you teach your children a song like that, or find some other way to introduce emotions, you can lead them to discover their Superpower.
I ask them to show me their sad face. Show me their surprised face! Show me their sleepy face. Show me their angry face! And finally, show me their happy face! Then I tell them that we are going to do a trick.
I ask them to hold their hand next to their face and I demonstrate “Happy Face” and then pass my hand past my face as I change expression and then say “Sad Face”. We go back and forth between the two types of faces, eventually getting faster and faster until we end up laughing.
When all is calm again, I say with great excitement, “Did you know that you have a Superpower?” They are immediately interested. I repeat the question and my comments go something like this:
"Did you know that you have a Superpower?
Did you know that? - YOU have a Superpower!
YOU (pointing to all of them) have the POWER to make other people happy.
YOU can choose to do things or say things that make your friends or your family feel happy.
Can you think of something that you could do when you go home today that would make your Mom or your Grandma or your sister or brother feel happy?"
At this point, I pause to see if they can think of some ideas. Sometimes a child will say “give Mommy a hug” or “put my toys away” or some other activity. If not, I am ready with suggestions. Sometimes they get it backwards and suggest something like “I could play a video game with my Dad” or some other action that would actually be one that would make THEM happy. In that case, I redirect them to think about:
- What would make a sister/brother happy? Helping her/him, being nice to her/him, not fighting with her/him, etc.
- What would make a parents/guardians happy? Helping set the table, not arguing about going to bed, putting toys away, giving hugs, etc.
- What would make your classmates happy? Helping, sharing, not fighting, saying you like their sweater, playing with everyone on the playground, etc.
Sometimes a clever child will point out that they also have the power to make people unhappy, and if so, I address it, but only if they bring it up, because I want to emphasize the positive things that they can do.
I end by repeating - "YOU have a superpower - because YOU have the power to make other people happy. Think about how you can make someone happy today!"
For older children
If you teach children older than first grade, you may want to start a discussion about Superheroes during your gathering or circle time.
It won’t take long until hands shoot up and at least half the kids want to tell you about watching “Batman”, “Wonder Woman”, or “Spiderman”. From this, you can start to build a case where you compare your children to the Superheroes they admire.
- Make a list of the good things Superheroes do. Save people, stop the bad guys, protect the community, stop crime, etc.
- Ask what special character traits a Superhero has. They're kind, selfless, considerate, helpful, hardworking, trustworthy, etc.
- Ask what it would feel like to be able to help people the way a Superhero does and what it would feel like to be helped.
After your discussion, ask the question: "Did you know that YOU have a Superpower?"
Your children may initially be confused by such a bold statement but when you ask them which character traits they possess that are the same as a Superhero, you can point out the "superpowers" they have.
Conclude by brainstorming ideas that are applicable for your age group and empower your children to get started doing kind deeds for others.
You might even appoint a section of a bulletin board where students can adhere a gold construction star that states what they did during the past week. A kindness tree is another fun way to display good deeds.
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Read about how a kindergarten teacher and mother of 3 came up with a unique way to share her passion for kindness with her students through kindness capes.
Kindness Days to Celebrate
Random Acts of Kindness Day - 13 February
Pay It Forward Day - 28 April
World Kindness Day - 13 November
AUTHOR: Sharon L. Bratcher
Sharon is a mother of six productive adults and has been a teacher and guest teacher for more than ten years. Her philosophy of life can be summed up in the words of a song: "If I can help somebody as I pass along, then my living shall not be in vain." As a Guest Teacher, she looks for ways to encourage kindness because even a brief encounter can make a lifelong difference. She has been a Christian magazine columnist for eight years and her book - a collection of 45 of her articles - is available by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.