Category: Kindness

February 10, 2023 by admin 0 Comments

The Secret Powers of Teddy Bears

Teddy bears are perfect gifts for the little Valentines in your life. This time of year, shop windows are full of teddy bears and bear puns like “I Love You Beary Much!”

But teddy bears are NOT just cute, cuddly, stuffed toys. They can play an important role in children’s early social and emotional development. 

Let’s take a look at some of the secret powers teddy bears have to help children learn important early skills. 

Teddy Bear Science

The softness of teddy bears makes them lovable. Many children are attached to inanimate objects, and research shows that more than 90% of those objects are soft like stuffed animals. Research shows that teddy bears — which started as plush toys modeled on wild bears — are now designed and manufactured to optimize cuteness. 

Comfort and Security

Teddy bears can be comforting to children.

Research funded by the National Institutes of Health is investigating the role that teddy bears can play in helping children relax and get a good night of sleep. 

Other research shows that teddy bears can become “transitional objects” that help children adapt when they are separated from their parents (for example when they go to preschool). In essence, the object represents the process by which one can navigate life, and experience a homeostatic inner balance, a cohesive sense of well-being at every developmental milestone,” wrote Colleen Goddard, a specialist in child development.

Just hugging a soft bear can be comforting and soothing. Cuddling a teddy bear “evokes a sense of peace, security and comfort,” psychologist Corrine Sweet said.

The physical hug — or even the familiar scent of a teddy bear — can have a calming effect, making it a great tool for children dealing with stressful situations.

Companionship and Communication

Teddy bears can also be friends to young children (and adults, too — but that’s another story!). 

Teddy bears can play roles in children’s imaginative play and help children practice communicating with (human) friends. Imaginary play can help children develop their creativity, problem-solving skills, and ability to communicate with others.

Children can talk through problems with teddy bears or invite them to join in their imaginative play — from a teddy bear picnic to playing school with bears to creating obstacle courses with (or for) stuffed bears. 

Practice, Practice, Practice!

Teddy bears can also help children learn new skills. 

A bear will not judge or rush an early reader who is reading aloud to it. One study found that teddy bears can help children read more. Another found that “teddy bears can give confidence to students to do well in class.”

A bear will happily accompany a child who is trying something new — giving a child the confidence he or she needs to take on a new challenge. 

September 1, 2022 by admin 0 Comments

Build a Kinder World With Your Child!

This month, Big Heart World is joining Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation’s #BeKind21 — a movement that asks all of us to do something kind for the first 21 days in September to flex our kindness muscles and build a culture of kindness and compassion.

Everyone — big and small — can be kind. And kindness matters! Being kind helps others and the Earth — and it helps YOU. Research shows when you do kind things for others, you get happier and healthier! 

Here’s a calendar with ideas to inspire you and your family to spread kindness this month:

Download the calendar and print it out for your family!

This is our second year being part of this important kindness campaign.

We hope our calendar inspires you and your little one, and we can’t wait to hear how you make the world a kinder, braver place together this month!

Please share with the hashtag #BeKind21 with us on Facebook or Instagram!

And please sign up and take the the #BeKind21 pledge yourself:

Born This Way Foundation launched #BeKind21 in 2018 to invite participants to practice an act of kindness for themselves and others each day from September 1st to September 21st to build kinder, connected communities that foster mental wellness. 

November 16, 2021 by Julia Levy 0 Comments

G-G-Grateful: Una Canción de Gratitud Hecha por Ti


¿Por qué te sientes agradecido/a TÚ?

Es posible que los niños pequeños aún no comprendan que todos tienen sus propios pensamientos y sentimientos, pero los padres, cuidadores y profesores pueden enseñarles a preocuparse por los demás y a sentirse agradecidos. A los 2-3 años, los niños suelen sentirse agradecidos por cosas específicas (¡como una mascota o su juguete preferido!), pero al cumplir los 4 años ya son capaces de sentirse agradecidos por conceptos más abstractos (¡como el amor y la libertad!) (fuente). Los niños pueden practicar decir “Gracias” y conectar la palabra con el sentimiento de gratitud a medida que crecen.

Este sentimiento de gratitud es importante, pero no sólo el Día de Acción de Gracias sino durante la vida: estudios de investigación demuestran que este sentimiento de agradecimiento hace que las personas sean más felices (fuente) y estén más saludables (fuente).

Así pues, ¿cómo podemos criar a un/a niño/a agradecido/a? Hablen sobre la gratitud, hagan que ser agradecido sea un hábito en su familia ¡y conviértase usted en un modelo a seguir! La investigación confirma que los padres que muestran gratitud tienen hijos más agradecidos en sus actos (fuente).

Su propia canción original sobre la gratitud

Con el Día de Acción de Gracias a la vuelta de la esquina y la gratitud como máxima, nuestro amigo, el talentoso compositor y cantante Royer Bockus, ha creado una original Canción de Gratitud, “G-G-Grateful” para invitar a los padres, cuidadores, niños y educadores de Gran Corazón a crear su PROPIA canción original sobre la gratitud. 

Se trata de una plantilla que pueden usar para crear su propia canción familiar de agradecimiento. Esto le ayudará a usted a ser un modelo de gratitud a la vez que ayudará a su pequeño/a a entender cómo ser agradecido/a.

Estos son los tres pasos:


Escuchen la canción juntos.

Esta es la versión con letra: 

Esta es la versión instrumental sin letra:

Piensen en las cosas por las que usted y su niño/a están agradecidos. Pueden ser personas (¡como la Abuela!), lugares (¡como nuestra pared para trepar en el parque!), ideas (como la libertad y el amor) o sus comidas, animales, flores o libros favoritos, etc. 

Es una fantástica oportunidad de ayudar a los niños a entender qué es la “gratitud” y “ser agradecido”. Son palabras cargadas de significado que pueden ser demasiado abstractas para la comprensión de los niños pequeños. No pasa nada: ¡se trata de enseñar y aprender!

Por turnos, compartan uno con el otro lo que a cada uno les hace sentirse agradecidos. 

¡Ahora toca convertir los “gracias” en una canción!

Escuchen la música en su versión instrumental mientras crean su propia canción juntos.

Crear su propia versión de “G-G-Grateful” es suficiente para incentivar la gratitud, pero si desea que la canción esté presente en su mesa de Acción de Gracias, puede invitar a cada miembro de la familia a añadir una frase a la letra.

Compartan su versión de “G-G-Grateful” en las redes sociales con la etiqueta #bigheartworld! ¡Estamos ansiosos por escuchar lo que usted y su familia han creado.

November 16, 2021 by Julia Levy 0 Comments

G-G-Grateful: A Do-It-Yourself Thankfulness Song


What are YOU thankful for? 

Young children may not yet understand that everyone has their own thoughts and feelings, but parents, caregivers, and teachers can help them learn to care about others and to feel thankful. By 2-3 years old, children can be thankful for specific things (like a pet or a favorite toy) and by about 4 years old, children can feel grateful for more abstract things (like love and liberty) (source). Children can practice saying, “Thank you” and learn to connect those words with the feeling of gratitude as they grow.

All of this gratefulness is important — not just on Thanksgiving but in life: research shows that feeling grateful actually makes people happy (source) and healthy (source).

So, how can you raise a thankful child? Talk about gratitude, make thankfulness a habit in your family, and be a gratitude role model! Research shows that  parents who show gratitude have children who act more grateful (source).

Make Your Own "Thank You" Song

With Thanksgiving approaching and thankfulness top of mind, our friend, the amazingly talented composer and singer Royer Bockus created an original Thanksgiving Song, “G-G-Grateful,” to prompt Big Hearted parents, caregivers, children, and educators to create their OWN original songs about gratefulness. 

It’s like a template for you to use to create your own family thankfulness song. This will help you model your thankfulness while also helping your little one explore gratitude.

Follow These 3 Steps

Listen to the song together:

Here’s the version with lyrics. Notice how Royer names and sounds out the things she’s grateful for as she sings!

Here’s the audio with no lyrics:

Brainstorm what you and your child are thankful for. It could be people (like Grandma!), places (like “our” rock in the park!), ideas (like freedom and love) or favorite foods, pets, flowers, books, etc. 

This is a great chance to help children understand what “gratitude” and “thankfulness” are. These are big words that might be a bit too abstract for younger toddlers to understand. It’s OK: this is a moment for teaching and learning!

Take turns, sharing what makes each of you thankful.

Now it’s time to turn your “thank yous” into a song!

Play the music without words in the background as you create your own song together.

Just creating your own version of “G-G-Grateful” is enough to build gratitude — but if you want to bring the song to your family’s Thanksgiving table and each add a line, please feel free!

Share your version of G-G-Grateful on social media and tag #bigheartworld! We want to hear what you and your little one create.

Mister Rogers’ Enduring Lesson: How to Raise a Helper

By now, you’ve almost certainly seen Fred Rogers’ advice for comforting kids: “When I was a boy,” he said, “and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

The quote can help us feel hopeful in trying times. But as Fred showed us in Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, it doesn’t take a tragedy to bring out the helpers. People also help in small moments and in all-but-invisible ways: A well-timed embrace. A kind word. Even just being there for someone who needs us. (“It’s really tough some days, isn’t it?” we might say to a friend.) 

Fred knew that small moments like these often make the biggest difference. Parents know it, too: Surveys suggest that for most of us, our highest hope for our kids is that they’ll grow up to be caring, generous people who help their families and neighbors.

According to a report released a few years ago by the Harvard Graduate School of Education, kids hear something else altogether: nearly 80 percent of young people say their parents are more concerned with achievement than they are about character. When asked what would make their parents prouder — getting good grades or being a helper — kids were three times more likely to pick the former. 

Be a Helper to Raise a Helper

As we write in our book, When You Wonder, You’re Learning: Mister Rogers’ Enduring Lessons for Raising Creative, Curious, Caring Kids, we can look to Fred to find out why.

One of the most important things Fred learned from his mentor, Margaret McFarland, was the Quaker philosophy that attitudes are caught, not taught. We can extol the virtues of helping all day long, but without action to back up our words, our words aren’t likely to stick. The best way to raise helpers, it turns out, is to strive to be helpers ourselves.

That might be easier said than done, especially amid the pressures and stress of modern family life. Even Fred liked to have a reminder: Once, while strolling his college campus, he discovered a plaque that said, LIFE IS FOR SERVICE. The inscription struck him as so simple, yet so profound, that it shaped the rest of his years. He wrote it on a slip of paper, which he put in his wallet and carried for decades. He even hung a photo of the plaque on his office wall. 

Though he’s best known for his make-believe Neighborhood, stories about Fred’s real-world service could fill a book. There’s the little girl whom he helped through a coma. There’s the journalist whose relationship with Fred changed the course of his life. The list goes on and on.

We’ve heard countless similar stories while sharing When You Wonder, You’re Learning with parents and teachers around the world. And we’ve heard them in our hometown of Pittsburgh, where Fred was our real-life neighbor. (There’s even a holiday here that celebrates Fred’s kindness — a holiday that ought to be national!)

Fred was the real deal, as kind in real life as he was on television. The Fred we saw on screen was not an act, but a practice. He led by example, helping his neighbors do the same. He showed the world that “each and every one of us can be as caring, kind, and influential in children’s lives as he was,” wrote his equally kind wife, Joanne, in the foreword to our book. Every last one of us can be a helper.

How to Help in YOUR Neighborhood

What might it look like to follow in Fred’s footsteps in our own lives and our own homes? And how might we raise kind children, remembering — as Fred did — that attitudes are caught, not taught?

With the holidays fast approaching, it’s a great time to wonder how we might serve others. Maybe there’s a food pantry where you and your family might help. Maybe an elderly neighbor needs help clearing some leaves. Or maybe, in this season of giving, you decide to give gifts a bit differently. Each year on their birthdays, for example, Gregg’s daughters get lots of presents, from which they choose just a small number to keep. They take the rest to Beverly’s Birthdays, a nonprofit organization that arranges birthday parties for kids experiencing homelessness. 

Whatever you do, it doesn’t have to be big. In fact, it’s better if it’s not big — if your helping, like Fred’s, happens in small moments and in all-but-invisible ways. 

“It’s tempting to think ‘a little’ isn’t significant and that only ‘a lot’ matters,” he once said. “But most things that are important in life start very small and change very slowly, and they don’t come with fanfare and bright lights.”

In a time when the brightest lights seem to shine on what matters least, it’s hard to imagine a more important lesson for young helpers. (And for us grown ones, too.)

November 4, 2021 by Julia Levy 0 Comments

Three Little Kids Helping in BIG Ways

Orion Jean’s fifth grade teacher mentioned the National Kindness Speech Contest to him — with just 24 hours to prepare. 

The Texas child, just nine years old at the time, won with his speech on making change with kindness — and put his $500 award toward a campaign he called the Race to 500 Toys, donating hundreds of toys to a local children’s hospital. He went on to launch the Race to 100,000 Meals around Thanksgiving 2020, followed by the Race to 500,000 Books, through which he rallied supporters to donate half a million books to kids in need. 

“If you just believe and if you continue to try your best — even if you’re only able to help one person, it’s definitely all worth it at the end because that’s what it’s about,” Orion said on the How to Help, an episode of the Little Kids, Big Hearts podcast focused on little kids who are big helpers. 

How to Help

All people — kids and grown-ups alike — have opportunities to be helpers every day, and research shows that humans are hardwired to help. Even babies make efforts to help other people, starting as young as 12 months old. 

Many people help others in small ways, but a select few people take on big challenges and find big solutions. 

On the new episode of the Little Kids, Big Hearts podcast, How to Help, host Todd Loyd talks with three little kids who are helping in big ways — making enormous impacts in their local communities and starting domino effects of giving. The episode’s goal? Helping to inspire kids and families listening to become helpers in their own schools and communities! 

Zohaib Begg, 9, Ashburn, VA

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, Zohaib’s aunt, an emergency room doctor, told him about the shortage of personal protective equipment and asked his mom if she had extra swim caps she could use for protection.  

Zohaib had an idea: He set off to local hotels in Northern Virginia seeking shower caps and other unused items for frontline workers. He ultimately collected more than 6,000 items, including shower caps, gloves, and face masks, to help healthcare workers at the Inova Fairfax Hospital, where he’d received treatment for a serious health condition when he was just three years old. 

Last spring, he launched a new campaign to help the homeless community in Washington, D.C.. He gathered donations from friends and businesses that he engaged to work together to create kits that he handed out to homeless people. 

Working together with Sharon Wise, who once experienced homelessness and now advocates on behalf of homeless people, he passed out food, toiletry kits, supplies, and comfy Bombas socks to hundreds of people in need.

“I love creating kindness,” Zohaib said on Little Kids, Big Hearts. “I noticed that one person can make a difference … All you have to do is be kind.”

He said to make the world a better place, all you need to do is find one problem and then work to solve it. 

“All you have to find is a problem and a solution and no matter how old or young you are, you can always make a difference by just being kind,” he said. “Even if you just help one person that might change their life and make them think better about something and they help another person, they help another and another, and so on.”

Learn more about Zohaib and support his work here.

Katelynn Hardee, 7, Vista, California

When Katelynn was in kindergarten, she learned that there were kids at her school who couldn’t afford school lunch. She opened a hot cocoa and cookie stand to help out. 

She ended up using the money she earned to pay off all the school lunch debt at her school — and then for her entire elementary school district. 

This inspired a series of projects to help her community including starting a free library in her front yard and a school supplies drive. Katelynn finds ways to spread kindness in simple ways, too, like by drawing inspiring messages on her sidewalk!

“You do something and then it spreads,” she said. “Once I do something, and then the next person does something, then then the next person and then the next person.”

Learn more about Katelynn’s work here (her organization is called Kiki’s Kindness Project).

Orion Jean, 11, Mansfield, Texas
Photo from the Washington Post (McDonald Jean)

Orion’s Race to Kindness project started with an online speech contest, which led him to create a kid-led movement — which has rapidly grown to have an enormous positive impact in his Texas community.

“I think that when I reached my first goal and surpassed it by over 100 toys, then I knew that there truly is hope because people — all people — have the ability to be kind,” he said. “Sometimes it just takes one person to bring it out of them.”

The pandemic interfered with a lot of people’s plans, but Orion says the pandemic was a catalyst for his many acts of kindness.

“Without the pandemic, maybe none of this would have even happened,” he said.

Learn more about Orion and get involved at his Race to Kindness website. 

Listen to the Podcast for More

To hear more from Orion, Zohaib, and Katelynn, listen to Little Kids, Big Hearts episode How to Help wherever you find your podcasts!

As you listen, consider:

  • Do their stories and ideas inspire you to help others?
  • What are some ways you and your family can get involved and help in your local community? 

October 4, 2021 by Bob McKinnon 0 Comments

What Story Will Our Children Tell About These Last 18 Months?

“I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”  This is the famous mantra at the heart of the classic children’s book, The Little Engine that Could.

If ever we needed to encourage our children to believe in themselves and work hard to “make it over the mountain,” it has been these last eighteen months.  

Teachers, parents, and, most of all, students, have been asked to overcome a myriad of unprecedented challenges. We don’t need to list them here as, unfortunately, we all know them all too well. 

Yet while all have had to work hard to overcome these barriers to learning, we also know that some have had more to overcome than others. It will be years before we can fully understand how far some have fallen behind others. 

I wrote Three Little Engines, an update of the classic, well before the pandemic hit, but its core messages seem prescient and instructive today. While the original asked children to believe in themselves (“I think I can…”), Three Little Engines also asks us all to also believe in AND help each other (“I think we can…”).

The Story Goes Like This

It’s graduation day. In order to graduate, three little engines have to make their first solo trip over the mountain, where friends and family wait to celebrate. The Little Blue Engine goes first and makes her way up the mountain, repeating to herself “I think I can” as she chugs up the slope. With clear skies and a positive spirit, she makes her way relatively easily to the other side. But her two friends are nowhere to be seen. 

Unbeknownst to her, they have traveled on different tracks with different challenges. The Yellow Engine was caught in a terrible storm, and the Red Engine was stopped by a fallen tree on her tracks. Neither can make it over the mountain to join her for their graduation celebration.  

Initially, the Little Blue Engine is confused and frustrated. Did her friends quit?  Did they not work as hard as she did?  

It is only when prompted by some questions from her teacher, the Rusty Old Engine, does she reflect on how their journey may have been different from her own. They did indeed work very hard and didn’t quit. Rather they just had more obstacles and needed a little more help. With this realization, she is determined to go back up the mountain to help her friends get to the celebration. 

Three Little Engines' Lessons

In the spirit of the Big Heart World framework, the book underscores three opportunities for parents, educators, and children:

  • Learning About Me — How do we help children understand their own journey these last eighteen months?  
  • Learning About You — How do we encourage children to see how others’ journeys may have been different from theirs? 
  • Learning About Us — How do we create the space for children to seek help for themselves or offer help for others?   

This first asks us to have an honest conversation about “attribution” — what internal or external factors have contributed to where we are right now? The second encourages curiosity and empathy. The final requires bravery and kindness. 

It has been inspiring to read this book to young children and hear their reaction. They talk about what “trees that have fallen on their track” and who helped to remove them (thank you teachers and parents!). When asked which engine they’d most like to be, most say the Little Blue Engine.  Not because her trip over the mountain was easier but because they want to be the one who goes back up the mountain to help their friends. They “get” that the other engines didn’t quit but just needed a little help — and, importantly, that it’s okay to ask for help. 

As most kids are back in school, there may be a sense that things are getting back to normal (masks notwithstanding).  Understandably, the majority of energy will be to move forward, to make up for lost learning and missed time.  

Yet we know how important stories are for our children. It is a primary way in which they make sense of their world.  Which story they tell about this challenging time may depend on what stories we help them create today.

Los materiales para la vuelta al cole más importantes de este año: Las máscaras y las habilidades para resolver problemas

Jodie's son

Mi hijo de seis años empezó el primer grado este mes en una escuela nueva, sin ninguna cara conocida a la vista. El primer día, le preguntó a su compañera de pupitre si quería que fueran amigos. Ella respondió encogiendo los hombros y diciéndole que lo pensaría.

Al día siguiente, su respuesta fue no. 


Mi sangre de mamá-oso hirvió cuando me contó su decisión, pero su carita pecosa permaneció relativamente tranquila y natural. No parecía enfadado: más bien estaba inseguro de qué debía hacer ahora.

A medida que nuestros hijos comienzan un nuevo año escolar, muchos de ellos de vuelta a las aulas después de una larga pausa causada por el Covid, me uno a muchos padres que están ayudando a nuestros hijos a resolver problemas sociales. 

Las preocupaciones de padres con la vuelta al cole

Un nuevo estudio realizado por Bright by Text y Big Heart World con casi 450 padres de niños de entre 2 y 8 años de edad, reveló que:

  • El 75% de los padres afirman estar preocupados por el aprendizaje socio-emocional de sus hijos. 
  • Los padres están más preocupados por el desarrollo socio-emocional que por el aprendizaje académico.
  • Sólo el 31% de los padres declaró sentirse “muy seguro” de poder ayudar a sus hijos a desarrollar sus habilidades socioemocionales. 

Con tantas cosas que están fuera de nuestro control en este momento (el 95% de los padres encuestados siguen preocupados por la posibilidad de que sus hijos se contagien de COVID), todavía hay formas de ayudar a nuestros hijos a volver a salir a la calle con confianza. 

Tres estrategias para ayudar a nuestros hijos a resolver problemas

Aquí hay tres estrategias para ayudar a tu hijo a resolver problemas sociales: 

  1. Devuelvele las preguntas. Cuando mi hijo de primer grado me preguntó qué creía que debía hacer para hacer amigos, mis otros hijos se lanzaron a hacer sugerencias. “Pasar tiempo en las barras durante el recreo”, sugirió mi hijo de tercer grado. “Allí seguro que haces amigos”. Mi hijo de cuatro años preguntó si podía ir a primer grado y ser amigo de su hermano mayor. (Qué bien, pero pues, no es posible). Le devolví la pregunta original a quien la hizo: “¿Qué crees TÚ que deberías hacer?”. Y, con sólo unos minutos de reflexión, se le ocurrieron algunas ideas geniales para hacer nuevos amigos y también para llevarse bien con la compañera no tan interesada. Por supuesto, a veces nuestros hijos necesitarán que les ayudemos a resolver problemas, pero otras veces sólo necesitan saber que creemos que ellos tienen las respuestas.
  2. Aplica la regla de “prueba 3 antes de venir a mí”. Con tres niños de edades cercanas, en mi casa hay conflictos casi constantes. Qué película ver, quién puede usar qué juguete, a qué parque vamos. En pocas palabras: los conflictos son agotadores, para los padres, para los niños e incluso para el perro de nuestra familia, que se levanta y sale de la habitación cuando hay un desacuerdo. La regla ” Prueba 3 antes de acudir a mí” anima a los niños a idear tres formas de resolver un problema por su cuenta antes de pedírselo a un adulto. Si están jugando a un juego de mesa y no están de acuerdo, la regla de “probar 3” podría ser la siguiente: negociar una regla que pueda resolver el problema, volver a empezar la partida o elegir un nuevo juego. Si todo eso falla, pueden pedirme ayuda a mí (o a otro adulto). Esto anima a los niños a resolver un problema entre ellos antes de pedir ayuda externa.
  3. Haz que el respeto sea un ingrediente de los desacuerdos. Los niños (amigos, hermanos, compañeros de clase) no siempre están de acuerdo. Y eso está bien. Pero insultar, gritar o herir físicamente a otra persona no está bien. Cuando surge un desacuerdo entre mis propios hijos o entre mi hijo y un amigo, a menudo me ayuda recordarles que en realidad se quieren, y que no tienen que estar de acuerdo, pero sí tienen que dirigirse al otro con respeto. Estas palabras son más efectivas cuando todos han tenido la oportunidad de respirar profundamente y calmarse.

Al comenzar otro año escolar marcado por la pandemia, añadamos habilidades de resolución de problemas sociales a nuestra lista de material escolar. 

Para más consejos sobre cómo ayudar a tu hijo a tener un gran corazón este año escolar, envía HEART al 274 448.

September 21, 2021 by Jodie Fishman, MPH, MCHES 0 Comments

This Year’s Hottest Back-to-School Supplies: Masks and Problem-Solving Skills

Jodie's son
Jodie's 6-year-old, heading to first grade

My six-year-old started first grade this month at a brand-new school, not a familiar face in sight. On the first day, he asked his next desk neighbor if she wanted to be friends. She responded with a shrug and said she’d think about it.

The next day, her answer was no. 


My mama-bear blood boiled when he told me her verdict, but his little freckled face remained relatively calm and matter-of-fact. He didn’t seem angry. Mostly, he seemed unsure of what to do next.

As our kids begin a new school year, many back in the classroom after a long Covid-induced hiatus, I join many parents across the country (and around the world) who are pitching in to help our kids figure out social problem-solving. 

Parents' Back-to-School Worries

A new study of nearly 450 parents of kids ages 2-8, conducted via text message by Bright by Text and Big Heart World, found that:

  • 75% of parents reported concern about their child’s social-emotional learning. 
  • Parents are more concerned about social-emotional development than academic learning.
  • Only 31% of parents reported feeling “very confident” in helping their child build social-emotional skills. 

With so much out of our control right now (95% of parents surveyed remain concerned about their child catching COVID), there are still ways we can help our kids get back out there confidently. 

Three Strategies to Help Our Kids Solve Problems

Here are three strategies for helping your child solve social problems: 

  1. Bounce questions back. When my first grader asked what I thought he should do to make friends, my other kids jumped in with suggestions. “Hang out at the monkey bars during recess,” suggested my third grader. “You’ll definitely make friends there.” My four-year-old asked if he could move up to 1st grade and be his big brother’s friend. (Sweet, but not possible.) I bounced the original question back to its asker: “What do YOU think you should do?” And, with just a few minutes of thought, he came up with some great ideas for making new friends and also getting along with the not-so-interested classmate. Of course, sometimes our kids will need us to help problem-solve — but other times they just need to know that we believe they have the answers.
  2. Use the “try 3 before coming to me” rule. With three kids close in age, there are near-constant conflicts in my house. Which movie to watch, who gets to use which toy, what playground we go to. Simply put: conflicts are exhausting — for the parents, for the kids, and even for our family’s dog who gets up and leaves the room when a disagreement rumbles through! The “Try 3 before coming to me” rule encourages kids to come up with three ways to solve a problem on their own before asking a grown-up. If they’re playing a board game and disagree, the “try 3” rule might look like: negotiate on a rule that may solve the problem, start the game over, or pick a new game. If all of that fails, then they can ask me (or another grown-up) for help. This encourages kids to solve a problem amongst themselves first before asking for outside help.
  3. Make respect an ingredient in disagreements. Kids (friends, siblings, classmates) don’t always agree. And that’s okay. But calling people names, yelling, or physically hurting someone else are not okay. When a disagreement comes up between my own kids or my child and a friend, it often helps to remind them that they actually like each other — and that they don’t have to agree, but they do have to approach each other respectfully. These words sink in the most when everyone has had a chance to take some deep breaths and calm down.

As we begin yet another pandemic school year, let’s all add social problem-solving skills to our school supply list. 

For more tips on helping your child grow a big heart this school year, text HEART to 274 448.

September 6, 2021 by Julia Levy 0 Comments

Construya un Mundo Bueno con Su Hijo/a

¡La amabilidad importa! Una persona puede ayudar a otras personas y al planeta, y también le ayuda a si mismo. Las investigaciones muestran que cando haces cosas bondadosas por los demás, grandes o pequeños, se vuelve más feliz y saludable. 

Este mes, Big Heart World se une a nuestros amigos de Too Small To Fail de la Fundación Clinton para unirse a # BeKind21 de la Fundación Born This Way de Lady Gaga, un movimiento que nos pide a todos que hagamos algo amable durante los primeros 21 días de septiembre para flexione nuestros músculos de la bondad y construya una cultura de bondad y compasión.

Aquí hay un calendario con ideas que lo inspirarán a usted y a su familia a difundir la bondad este mes:

Esperamos que estas ideas se inspiren a usted y a su hijo/a, y estamos ansiosos por escuchar cómo hace del mundo un lugar más amable y valiente. ¡Comparte con el hashtag #BeKind21 con nosotros en Facebook o Instagram!

Puede registrar y hacer el compromiso # BeKind21 usted mismo: