Have you ever caught yourself speaking in a way that was a little harsher than you expected? Even as adults, the way we communicate can get out of line at times, especially when we are not in a gracious mood. Actively teaching kids to speak kindly, whether it's through their phone or in person, will set them up for success in the long run. This "Speak Kindly" checklist can help your children cultivate healthy communication habits. Share this with them, and see if they can check them off every week!
"Can you check off these
5 kind-texting skills every week?"
- Speak life with encouragement.
Encouraging your friends is one of the best ways to show them that you care about them and how they feel. Has a friend ever made you smile or encouraged you with a kind word? What did they say and how did that make you feel? You can send someone a word of encouragement today, with a simple "You are awesome!" or "I believe in you" text.
- Gratitude, say thank you!
Whether it's a text or a small email, expressing a "thank you" doesn't only make others feel appreciated, it also keeps your heart from feeling ungrateful. A grateful heart enables you to see the good things in life and in people. Ex: Send a thank you email to your teacher or tutor for the great lesson they taught this week! Send a thank you text to your parent for the way they loved you this week. Message your friend that you appreciate them for being a good friend. There's so much to be thankful for, just start looking for it!
- Never EVER call someone a bad name.
If you've ever been made fun of or called a name you didn't like, you know how this feels. Make sure all your words are uplifting. If someone is hurting you, you do not have to lash out and hurt them back. Let your anger and hurt feelings pass before you respond. Get support in this, if you're struggling to get past the feelings. Once you are calm, tell them how their words affected you.
- Stop Rumors. Be Trustworthy.
It hurts when someone is talking badly about you behind your back, especially when what they are saying is embarrassing or not even true. Good news! When one of your friends is speaking badly about someone else, you do not have to engage! You can stand up for the person they are gossiping about by changing the subject or simply saying, "That's not kind, let not talk about this!". By being a no-gossip kid, your friends will see that they can trust you to not share what they tell you in private.
- Friends around = Phone down.
Being present with the people you're around is important for so many reasons! Don't "vanish" into your phone when you are with people in person. If you have to text someone because it's an important message, tell the person you are with what you are doing so they don't feel ignored or unimportant! Make sure the person you are texting knows you are with someone and need to focus on them, so they don't expect your full attention.
6. Know when to not respond.
Sometimes, conversations are not meant to be had over a phone or by text. If you are discussing something of importance or having a misunderstanding, it's good to wait until you can have a face-to-face talk. When you can read each other's facial expressions, hear each other's tone of voice, and look into each other's eyes, you can be much more sure of the connection with each other — and that can make ALL the difference!