Inside: Teaching kids to speak kindly to others is an important skill but it can feel abstract. Make this more concrete with this kindness activity to help them understand the damage cruelty can do.
I don’t want you in my room. You always take my stuff. Get out! You’re so annoying!
Sometimes, sibling relationships are tricky.
They share a space. They share time with us. And they share belongings.
Raising kind siblings is one of the harder parts of raising kind kids.
But to keep our homes calm, and happy, and peaceful, we have to teach them their words have power. Whenever they’re unkind to each other, and say things they have to apologize for, it causes invisible tears in their relationships.
And this is true with other relationships as well, with friends, classmates, and teammates.
Kids who constantly say unkind things without thinking of the consequences cause tears in the relationships with people around them.
Kids who constantly say unkind things knowing they’re causing damage are bullies.
Related: The True Definition of Bullying and Why You Need to Know It
We have to show all kids what their actions are doing and the unseen consequences of their unkind words.
Why Teaching Kids to Speak Kindly is Crucial:
We are raising kind kids and our main goal is to get them to speak and act with kindness more often.
But one of the hardest parts of that is getting our kids to think before they speak so they are more thoughtful and considerate.
We start by teaching our kids the THINK Method. Before they speak they need to ask themselves, is it:
But we also need to tell them the importance of thinking before they speak and the power of their words.
When we say unkind things to people, we cause little tears in our relationship, tears in our friendship, tears in their confidence.
But this is invisible and therefore abstract to kids.
So we need to figure out a way to make it more concrete.
This Torn Paper, Torn Relationships activity will help kids visually understand the normally unseen damage caused by cruel words.
Supplies Needed for this Torn Paper, Torn Relationships Activity
- free printable activity
- scissors (optional) or tear it!
- scotch tape
How to Use this Torn Paper, Torn Relationships Activity
1. Download and print the Torn Paper, Torn Relationship Activity below.
2. Use the pre-printed “insult page” or have kids fill in the blank version with mean things they’ve heard or mean things they’ve said.
3. Ask them how they feel when someone says something unkind or cruel to them. Then tear or cut one of the insults off the page to represent how badly it feels when someone hurts us.
You have no friends. Tear.
Your glasses are ugly. Tear.
You’re so annoying. Tear.
4. When our relationships have enough tears in them, it’ll feel like we’re kind of in pieces. We don’t feel great. Our hearts hurt.
Challenge the kids to brainstorm ways to put the pieces back together. That’s how it feels when we’re trying to feel better about ourselves when someone is unkind to us over and over again.
5. Have them brainstorm what they would do if they said something unkind to someone. How would they fix it?
Apologizing for what they said will be represented by the scotch tape.
Challenge them to tape the pieces back together as best as they can, trying to repair the relationship and fix what they said.
6. Show them the re-taped paper.
Does it look the same as the paper before there were tears in in?
Is the paper strong?
Or is it flimsy and weaker?
Could they fix what they said?
Could they take it back?
7. Remind them that the only true way to not damage relationships is to think before they seak and be more thoughtful and considerate so they don’t cause tears in the relationship in the first place.
An apology is better than not apologizing, but the best way to keep our relationships strong and healthy with our friends and siblings, and classmates is to speak kindly.
Relationships are important to us. It feels great when we surround ourselves with people who don’t cause tears in us.
It feels great to not cause tears in others.
And it’s in our control to keep our relationships strong, and untorn.
Download the Torn Paper, Torn Relationships Activity here.
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