The George Lucas Educational Foundation
February 22, 2014
Edutopia’s curated list of blogs, articles, and videos for parents about fostering kindness, empathy, resilience, perseverance, and focus in children.
Resources by Topic
1.) Encouraging Kindness and Empathy
2.) Cultivating Perseverance and Resilience
3.) Mindfulness, Emotional Intelligence, and Focus
4.) Home, School, and Community Partnerships
5.) Children’s Social Selves and Technology
6.) Additional Resources
Encouraging Kindness and Empathy
Raising Kind Kids (Greater Good Science Center, 2012): In this brief video from the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, parenting expert Christine Carter offers some tips to parents on how to foster kindness and generosity in children.
Raising Caring, Respectful, and Courageous Children (Harvard Graduate School of Education, 2013): Richard Weissbourd, co-director of the Making Caring Common Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, advises parents about raising caring, respectful, and courageous children.
Kindness Isn’t Just for Elementary School (Teaching Tolerance, 2013): Teacher Allison Ricket’s local elementary school uses the metaphor of “filling up the bucket” to teach children the value of “put-ups” instead of “put-downs”— these types of strategies can be used to train the brain for kindness at home as well as at school.
Building Social and Emotional Skills in Elementary Students: Empathy (Edutopia, 2013). In Part 7 of her elementary student SEL series, filmmaker Randy Taran offers suggestions and examples for cultivating empathy. Check out the section, “Encourage Empathy at Home.”
2nd-Grader’s Cure for Playground Loneliness: A Buddy Bench (Huffington Post, 2013): Second-grader Christian Bucks noticed that some of his friends didn’t have anyone to play with at recess. With the support and encouragement of his parents and the help of school administration, he was able to bring an idea called the “Buddy Bench” to fruition.
Five-Minute Film Festival: Nine Videos on Kindness, Empathy, and Connection (Edutopia, 2013): VideoAmy compiled this moving playlist of videos to explore the importance of human relationships and the power of being kind, generous, and compassionate.
Cultivating Perseverance and Resilience
Carol Dweck on the Power of “Yet” (GreatSchools, 2013): Stanford University professor Carol Dweck, research pioneer on “fixed” versus “growth” mindsets, discusses how a simple change of language can inspire children to think differently about their capabilities.
For more about Dweck’s research in this area, check out Maria Popova’s blog post from Brain Pickings entitled "Fixed vs. Growth: The Two Basic Mindsets That Shape Our Lives."
How Do We Help Kids Make Better Choices? Let Them Practice (Edutopia, 2012): School administrator, blogger and author Matt Levinson stresses that mistakes are a necessary part of learning and suggests that allowing children to navigate challenging situations on their own can help them build frameworks for arriving at more successful outcomes.
Tips for Resilience in the Face of Horror (Greater Good, 2013): Jason March, founding editor-in-chief of Greater Good, describes how educators and parents can help protect children and themselves from the effects of vicarious trauma.
Talking to Your Children About Tragedy (Bright Horizons, 2013): In this video, Brendamarie Contreras, director at Bright Horizons, discusses relevant principles parents can consider in relation to young children and personal or family reactions to traumatic events. Though the introduction to the video is focused on Boston, the principles discussed can be applied to a wide variety of situations.
Mindfulness, Emotional Intelligence and Focus
Social and Emotional Learning: What is it? How Can We Use it to Help Our Children? (The New York University Child Study Center): Robin Stern, Ph.D., discusses social and emotional learning and emotional intelligence, including tips for parents, educators, and students.
Educating the Heart: 6 Steps to Build Kindness & Resilience in Children (Dalai Lama Center, 2012): In this six-part video series, Dr. Dan Siegel describes how to use brain-based strategies to foster connection and mindfulness in order to build kindness and resilience in children.
Mindful Parenting (Greater Good Science Center, 2013): One way to teach children mindfulness is to model it. Parenting expert Christine Carter discusses how parents can bring mindful awareness to everyday situations. You may also want to check out Carter’s video on a simple strategy for teaching meditation to children: "Meditating with Kids."
Age of Distraction: Why It’s Critical for Students to Learn to Focus (KQED’s MindShift, 2013): Katrina Schwartz shares insights from Dan Goleman on how to help children manage digital distraction and build the neural circuitry that focused attention requires.
Daniel Goleman: Parents Teach Focus (Edutopia, 2013): Best-selling author and social-emotional learning expert Daniel Goleman explains how parents naturally teach their children how to focus and manage emotions. Also, check out the other videos in this series: "Daniel Goleman on the Importance of Cultivating Focus."
Social and Emotional Learning: Resources for Parents (Edutopia, Updated June 2012): Reference this parent guide to strategies for home and school for encouraging emotionally intelligent behavior.
Home, School and Community Partnerships
Creating a Safe and Caring Home (National School Climate Center): The National School Climate Center has created guidelines for parents on creating safe and caring homes, preventing bullying, strategies to promote collaboration among adults, and community activities.
Making Your Child’s School Safe and Supportive (GreatSchools, 2013): Parents are powerful forces for change in schools. In this article, Suzanne Bouffard and Richard Weissbourd discuss how parents can influence how kids are treated – and how students treat each other – at school. Be sure to check out the linked lists of "Questions Parents Can Ask Elementary Schools" and "Questions Parents Can Ask Middle and High Schools."
Teach Social-Emotional Learning for Better Schools, Safer Neighborhoods (Edutopia, 2013): Laura Rabb Morgan, Founder of South Chicago Block Club Coalition SEL Grassroots Movement, talks about her awakening to the need for social-emotional learning in her neighborhood.
Bully Prevention: Why We Desperately Need to Invest in Home-School Partnerships (Edutopia, 2012): Blogger Joe Mazza discusses the importance of parent-teacher partnerships to help students work through challenges and prevent bullying in schools.
How Parents and Schools Can Help Build Kids’ Emotional Strength (KQED’s MindShift, 2012): Blogger and principal Matt Levinson discusses some ideas for strengthening the relationship between schools and parents in order to help children work through social and emotional challenges during the pre-teen and teen years.
Children’s Social Selves and Technology
Technology at Home: Developing the Social Self (Edutopia, 2013): Media theorist Douglas Rushkoff encourages parents of tweens to let their children's social selves develop through reasonable limits on their digital access.
Kids and Tech: Failure Might Be the Best Option (Edutopia, 2012): Matt Levinson talks about the kid tech underground, two unfortunate cases of social media abuse, and the early ethical lessons that are possible when schools and parents work together.
Design Thinking - Invisible Hearts Project (the ASIDE blog, 2011): A group of Australian students decided to confront cyberbullying at their schools; the Invisible Hearts Project was the result of this collaboration. Using a combination of empathy and design thinking, the students used technology and social media in a positive manner to raise awareness and promote peace, equality, and love.
Also, reference the parent resources about bullying and cyberbullying prevention in Edutopia's "Resources to Fight Bullying and Harassment at School."
A Parent Primer on Social and Emotional Learning (Edutopia, 2009): Learn the benefits of nurturing students' social skills and how to make it happen at their school. This primer comes from Edutopia’s Schools that Work package on "Social and Emotional Learning in Lousville."
For additional information about social and emotional learning (SEL), including the research on its relationship to academic success, be sure check out our SEL page and join our SEL community discussion.
Confident Parents Confident Kids (Jennifer Miller): Parent Jennifer Miller writes a regular blog for parents on how to support social and emotional development in children.
Your Child’s Social & Emotional Skills (National Center for Learning Disabilities): These resources from the National Center for Learning Disabilities include guidelines for helping children with learning disabilities develop healthy social and emotional skills.