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Teaching kids kindness during National Autism Awareness Month

As home learning replaces the school classroom for the foreseeable future, schools have been adapting on the fly to continue educating students across the country. Families are also working on adapting to the impromptu classrooms and the stress that comes with distance learning.

But as I have previously written, parents need to make sure they give themselves plenty of grace during this time and understand that kids are resilient, and that learning can occur without fancy devices or digital apps or even structured lesson plans.

For example, April is National Autism Awareness Month. Veteran teacher Rebecca Friedrichs encourages families to use this year’s theme of kindness to help their children learn more about empathy for others and how to live out the Golden Rule by studying the inspiring stories of people who have experienced bullying or overcome difficulties.

One such example is 23-year-old Matthew Kenslow, who shares short stories from his life and the bullying he has dealt with because of his mild form of autism.

Families can then follow-up the reading with any of the ideas below to promote further learning.

  1. Write a personal letter to the author. Teach your child how to address the envelope too!
  2. Write a personal letter to someone you know who could use encouragement, support or a friend.
  3. Reach out to a child or adult in your scope of influence who is bullied and offer kindness.
  4. Write an essay on how to promote kindness.
  5. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper inspiring others to be kind.
  6. Look up the Golden Rule (Luke 6:31), memorize it, and discuss ways to put it into action.
  7. Create a piece of art depicting the Golden Rule.
  8. Now that you’ve been shut in for a while, you can relate to many elderly people who’ve been shut in and lonely for years. Become a pen pal to an elderly person (or your grandparents) and bring a smile to a face!

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