I recently saw a social media post that posed the question:
If you had to pick one quality, what would you like your kids to develop during childhood?@biglifejournal
As I browsed the responses in the comments section, I noticed that many parents answered with words such as compassion, kindness, empathy, emotional intelligence, gratitude, graciousness, and respect.
How do we teach these qualities to our children? I’d like to share with you a book that helped me introduce these concepts and the language surrounding kindness and compassion to our daughter. The book Cultiver la Gentillesse, by Rose Bunting is a great French children’s book that encourages kids to be kind and considerate individuals.
Disclosure: I’ve included Amazon links in case you’d like to purchase the book for your little ones. Please note that if you click through and make a purchase, I will earn a commission (at no extra cost to you).
The story is about a mouse and how he demonstrates kindness through daily small acts of kindness and considerate gestures. We accompany him through a typical day, from the moment his mom gently wakes him up to bathtime with his sibling. Throughout the book, there are many concrete examples of ways to be kind and thoughtful.
How to teach children to be kind:
Use kind language
The characters in the books speak to each other using kind language. For instance, when the mother wakes the child up, she uses the French term of endearment, “mon trésor“, which means “my precious little one” or “my sweetheart”.
Debout, mon trésor.
Wake up, sweetheart.
Teach them about the joy of helping others
When the little mouse notices that his mom is very busy, he volunteers to help her clean after breakfast. You can see his happy face as he picks up the bowls from the table, giving his mom time to focus on preparing their lunch bags.
Help them identify other people’s emotions
When he sees a new classmate, the squirrel, on the school bus, he invites him to sit with him and his friend, the rabbit.
Later during the day, not only does mousie assist Mrs. Mole with planting her flowers, but he’s also aware that it makes her happy.
Ça lui fait plaisir.
It makes him/her happy.
You can help your child identify emotions based on the different characters’ facial expressions. In this case, Mrs. Mole is smiling.
Madame Taupe sourit.
Mrs. Mole is smiling.
Teach them how to share with others
When his turtle friend’s cookie falls on the ground, he gives him half of his. While it can be hard to teach young kids to share toys, I find it easier with snacks, especially when there is more than enough to go around.
Partager, c’est super.
Sharing is great.
Show them how to express gratitude
The little mouse also recognizes that officer Hedgehog is responsible for looking after their safety as he helps the children cross the road, and that makes him grateful.
Encourage caring habits
The mouse calls his grandpa to let him know that he loves him.
Je t’aime gros comme l’univers.
I love you as big as the universe.
Promote cooperation and teamwork
During bathtime, the mouse and his sibling take turns washing each other’s hair. Bubbles and bonding, what a great combination.
Buy this French children’s book on Amazon
Disclosure: Please note that if you click through and make a purchase, I will earn a commission (at no extra cost to you).
Cultiver la gentillesse, by Rose Bunting
Buy the English version
Planting seeds of kindness, by Rose Bunting