Kindness Habit 1:

Reading Emotions

Recognize and value the
feelings and needs of others

See activities

What is it?

The ability to read emotions is a superpower and gives us a window into how others are thinking and feeling. No two people are the same! This habit requires curiosity and observation to discover more about someone else. It’s a helpful skill for kids to practice when they meet someone new. It's also a great habit for anyone to better understand the people they already know — or think they know!

Why is it important?

Before kids can understand how to be kind to others, they need to first tune into the moods and feelings of others. Kids enjoy clues that help them discover these emotions and expressions. Some feelings are easy (happy or sad), some can be tricky (anxious), and some are just plain confusing (is he tired or angry?).

Help kids get the habit

Encourage Face-to-Face:

Eye contact is a master key to people’s emotions and feelings. Quiz kids about the color of a talker’s eyes to get them in the habit.

Label Feelings and Gestures:

You look worried. I am frustrated. I see your shoulders are slumped, are you tired? Label feelings out loud and match emotions with gestures. This helps kids see the message they are sending about their feelings, and what clues to look for in others.

Show Curiosity About Others:

Why do you think that woman is frowning? Why are those boys snickering? Wondering aloud about other people or favorite characters can expand a kid’s curiosity. Ask questions to know how kids are understanding what they see and hear, and to help them out when they’re confused.

Encourage Caring Action:

Take the extra step and ask: What do you think would make them feel better? Is there anything we can do to help?

Activities

Practice Reading Emotions at home :) These are ideas to inspire new traditions. Did you know when kids are asked to teach it makes ideas more memorable?

Back to the Summer Kindness Series home page or see kindness habit 2

*Research and material is sourced and adapted from Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed In Our All-About-Me World.

Learn more about Dr. Michele Borba