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Teach Self-Love in the Classroom with These 3 Meaningful Activities

As teachers we all know how important it is to teach kindness toward others, but  it's equally important to teach how to be kind to yourself. Today I'm sharing three simple ways to teach self-love in the classroom because sharing kindness with the world begins on the inside.

1. Morning Mindfulness
When kids arrive to my classroom, it is my hope that they feel a sense of peace, comfort and safety regardless of where they're coming from. I work at a school with students who have high needs. School may be one of the only places they feel safe and since I'm in control of the four walls of my classroom it is my job to do all that I can to ensure it's a comfortable place. One of the ways I do this is by creating time each day for Morning Mindfulness. During this time, we sit in a circle and listen to peaceful music while practicing some simple breathing exercises. This helps set the mood for the remainder of our day. In addition to this, we do guided questioning. Every single day I ask my kids three simple questions, give them time to think of an answer, and offer them to share if they'd like to. Here's what I ask:
  • What is one thing you're grateful for this morning?
  • What is one thing you LOVE about yourself today?
  • What is one act of kindness you can do for our classroom community today?
We never start our day without asking these three very important questions. Morning Mindfulness has improved classroom behavior, student confidence, and our overall classroom community. Most days, students are eager to share their answers. It's important to do it daily and keep it part of the classroom routine. This way it becomes a habit and is a great foundation for postive self-talk throughout the rest of the school day. They are also encouraged to do Morning Mindfulness at home on the weekends and right before bed each night. 

2. Teach the Practice of Gratitude

One of my favorite quotes is "Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life." I teach that quote to my second graders at the beginning of the year (when introducing our Gratitude Jar) and we spend time discussing what it means. We talk about how when we find things to be grateful for, we don't feel as sad, angry, or frustrated. Therefore, we are less likely to be unkind to others. Gratitude is a major foundation of our classroom community. To teach gratitude, I recommend modeling for students some things that you're grateful for. I like to focus on things that we have in common to avoid students feeling left out. (For example, I would not share that I'm grateful for my cruise to the Bahamas but instead share something more general--like how I'm grateful for the person who helped me carry my teacher bags to the classroom that morning.) I try to leave items of monetary value out of the picture when modeling gratitude. We also have a classroom Gratitude Jar and students are welcome to add to it in the morning, during transitions, or in the afternoon. Each Monday morning during Morning Mindfulness, we read the gratitude notes from the jar. We also use Gratitude Journals which give kids a chance to write down and draw what they're grateful for each day. You can find these at my Teachers Pay Teachers store here.

3. Teach Positive Affirmations and Positive Self-Talk
Even from a young age it's important to begin practicing positive self-talk. One of the ways I do this is by modeling and teaching positive affirmations using Calm Cards. These colorful, peaceful cards are an easy yet effective way to get kids thinking positively. We read one together each morning as a Morning Mantra during Morning Mindfulness, and I keep a ring of Calm Cards in my Calm Corner for studentst to read if they're feeling unsettled. You can grab a full set of cards or a free sample set at my TpT shop here.

I hope you'll find, like I have, that when students are kind to themselves they are more likely to be kind to their classmates. Teaching the practice of self-love even at an early age is very important. I hope some of these tips will help you bring even more kindness to your classroom! 

For more ideas on mindfulness in the classroom, I invite you to visit my blog at theteacherspassport.com.

*This was written as a guest post for The Kindness Project at Creative Speech Lab