Researchers studied kindergartners’ behavior and followed up 19 years later.

Here are the findings.

Every parent wants to see their kid get good grades in school. But now we know social success is just as important.

From an early age, we’re led to believe our grades and test scores are the key to everything — namely, going to college, getting a job, and finding that glittery path to lifelong happiness and prosperity.

It can be a little stressful.

But a new study shows that when children learn to interact effectively with their peers and control their emotions, it can have an enormous impact on how their adult lives take shape. And according to the study, kids should be spending more time on these skills in school.

Nope, it’s not hippie nonsense. It’s science. 

Researchers measured the social skills of 800 kindergartners in 1991. Two decades later, they looked them up to see how things turned out. 

Kindergarten teachers evaluated the kids with a portion of something called the Social Competence Scale by rating statements like “The child is good at understanding other’s feelings” on a handy “Not at all/A little/Moderately well/Well/Very well” scale.

The research team used these responses to give each kid a “social competency score,” which they then stored somewhere until each kid was 25. At that point, they gathered some basic information about the now-grown-ups and did some fancy statistical stuff to see whether their early social skills held any predictive value.

Here’s what they found.

  1. Those good test scores we covet, they still matter, but maybe not for the reasons we thought.

Traditional thinking says that if a kid gets good grades and test scores, he or she must be really smart, right? After all, there is a proven correlation between having a better GPA in high school and making more money later in life.

But what that test score doesn’t tell you is how many times a kid a) worked with a study partner to crack a tough problem, b) went to the teacher for extra help, or c) resisted the urge to watch TV instead of preparing for a test.

The researchers behind this project wrote, “Success in school involves both social-emotional and cognitive skills, because social interactions, attention, and self-control affect readiness for learning.”

That’s a fancy way of saying that while some kids may just be flat-out brilliant, most of them need more than just smarts to succeed. Maybe it wouldn’t hurt spending a little more time in school teaching kids about the social half of the equation.

  1. Skills like sharing and cooperating pay off later in life.

We know we need to look beyond GPA and state-mandated testing to figure out which kids are on the right path. That’s why the researchers zeroed in so heavily on that social competency score.

What they found probably isn’t too surprising: Kids who related well to their peers, handled their emotions better, and were good at resolving problems went on to have more successful lives.

What’s surprising is just how strong the correlation was.

An increase of a single point in social competency score showed a child would be 54% more likely to earn a high school diploma, twice as likely to graduate with a college degree, and 46% more likely to have a stable, full-time job at age 25.

  1. Social behaviors can be learned and unlearned — meaning it’s never too late to change.

The researchers called some of these pro-social behaviors like sharing and cooperating “malleable,” or changeable.

Let’s face it: Some kids are just never going to be rocket scientists. Turns out there are physical differences in our brains that make learning easier for some people than others. But settling disputes with peers? That’s something kids (and adults) can always continue to improve on.

And guess what? For a lot of kids, these behaviors come from their parents. The more you’re able to demonstrate positive social traits like warmth and empathy, the better off your kids will be.

So can we all agree to stop yelling at people when they take the parking spot we wanted?

But what does it all mean?

This study has definite limitations, which its researchers happily admit. While it did its best to control for as many environmental factors as possible, it ultimately leans pretty heavily on whether a teacher thought a kid was just “good” or “very good” at a given trait.

Still, the 19-year study paints a pretty clear picture: Pro-social behavior matters, even at a young age. And because it can be learned, it’s a great “target for prevention or intervention efforts.”

The bottom line? We need to do more than just teach kids information. We need to invest in teaching them how to relate to others and how to handle the things they’re feeling inside.

Ignoring social skills in our curricula could have huge ramifications for our kids down the road.

For full details on the study, you can read it in its entirety in the American Journal of Public Health.

Categories: Teaching methods, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sunbird Quote of the Month:

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”

                                                                                                                                                  W.B. Yeats

Categories: Quotes | Leave a comment

Positive Parenting: Megaskills 10


Do your children say “I can’t” instead of “I can”? Children are not born problem solvers. They learn how.

Help them put what they know & can do into action.

Thinking is not a subject all by itself–it’s what you think about that is the subject. We need children who can begin to think about serious subjects.

Give them practice in asking & answering questions & practice in making decisions.

Ask questions that you really want answers to.

Listen to children’s answers.

Let children know how really smart they are.

Let your children ask you questions that they want answers to & take the time to respond thoughtfully.

Spur children’s inventive thinking with questions that limber up the brain. Ask how many things can be made from a paper plate. From a rubber band? From a paper clip?

Encourage children to imagine. What would happen if the automobile had not been invented?

Put a blob of ink on paper, fold it, rub & blot. Ask children to tell you all the things the blob reminds them of. Trade places & try it yourself.

Place circles or squares or triangles of various sizes on a sheet of paper. Then ask children to name & draw as many different objects as they can think of using these figures.

Help children think ahead about what they would change.

What do you want more time for?

How would you use more money?

What is a waste of time?

What makes you feel really happy?

What would you like to keep always the same?

What would you like to do tomorrow? Next week? Next month?

Involve children actively & early in decision making, especially in family decision making. They can be active participants or can just listen in. In this way they come to know, & to identify with, the process we adults go through in making up our minds.


Thinking & Choosing–ages 4-7

Ask your child to pretend the following things are happening:

You can’t find your key & no one is home.

You get lost on your way to a friend’s house.

You are teased on your way home from school.

Ask children to think of as many ways to solve these problems as they can. Don’t reject any ideas, even if they sound far-fetched.

After they have mulled over three or four different solutions, let them pick one way that seems best.

Ask for children’s ideas to remedy a problem they cause (not necessarily at the time when you’re upset). Examples: Mud on the floor, coats not hung up, milk left out etc.


Decisions Aren’t Easy–ages 9-12

Talk with your youngster about some important decisions you have made in the past. Examples: Buying a car, changing jobs, getting married. Tell about the things you considered before making these decisions. Were there good & bad consequences? Were you happy with your decisions? Would you make the same ones again?

Encourage children to become planners: What would they do if they were teachers? Fathers? Mothers?

Don’t give children decisions to make that you believe are yours alone. There is danger when children are given decisions to make that are really not theirs to make or when children are told they can make the decision & then find that their parent really didn’t mean it. Choose the real decisions that children can make & be prepared to live with their decisions.


Safety–Everyday Problem Solving

Children need to know that parents care about what they are doing.       Just being home doesn’t always do the job. It’s possible to be at home all the time & not have children feel that their parents care.

Children have to know the steps to take on their own to be safe.

Thinking through a problem:

  1. Children accidentally eat or drink poisons & dangerous medicines lying around the house. Many youngsters become ill & die.
  2. What can we do here at home to prevent this from happening? Let’s name a lot of ideas.

Help children recognise the warning labels on medicines & household cleaners at home.    Discuss what can be done if these products or medicines are swallowed accidentally. The labels tell us what remedies or antidotes counteract the poison.

Remind your children to take medicine only with your approval.


Household Danger Spots–ages 4-6

Take a walk around your home with your child. Check in each room to see that electric cords are not frayed, that throw rugs don’t slide, that old papers, rags & paints are stored properly, that sharp edges of knives & tools are covered.

Make a list of items in the house that need to be repaired.

Show children how the stove is turned off. If the stove is not to be used at all, explain why. Talk about why children should never play with matches.

Take a walk around your house. Show children how to lock & unlock all doors & at least a few windows. Point to exits to use in case of fire or other need to escape.

Let children try using all house keys. Have keys made for each family member & put these in special places for safekeeping.

Try to make your home as burglarproof as possible. Make sure there is a strong chain on the front door so that it can be opened only partially. Many parents tell children never to open the door for people they do not know.

Tell children never to enter the house after school if the door is ajar, a window is broken, or anything looks unusual. Give instructions to go to a neighbor’s or to a store, then to call Mom or Dad & wait for an adult to arrive before returning to the house.


Community Safety Tour–ages 4-6

Walk with your child or drive through your community. Point out the many signs you see. Which are the signs for safety? What do the other signs tell you? Examples: BUS, YIELD, WALK & CAUTION are some signs that children need to know.

Talk about safe places to go in case of danger. Examples: A neighbor’s house, a business office.

Prepare a safety kit for your child to take everywhere. It can include an identification card, a list of important telephone numbers, change for several phone calls, & perhaps enough money for bus or cab fare. Tape the kit inside your child’s lunchbox or knapsack.


Dealing with Strangers–any age

Give instructions to your children on how to talk to strangers on the phone, at the door & on the street.

Make up a set response to use on the phone: Example: “My mom can’t come to the phone now. May I take a message?”

Teach children how to take careful telephone messages that include the caller’s name & phone number. Buy a phone pad or make one out of scrap paper. Practice handling phone calls. Use a play phone or the real phone. Take turns being the caller & being the child at home.

Warn about accepting rides & gifts from strangers Do not assume that children know the dangers. Role play some typical situations such as, “Do you want candy?” “Can I give you a ride?”

Advise children not to carry thick wallets & to keep them out of sight. Girls who carry shoulder bags should hold on to them firmly. If youngsters are carrying large amounts of money, tell them to divide the money & to carry it in at least two places.

Talk together about at least three things to increase safety outdoors. Examples: Lock cars, keep personal items out of sight in parked cars, avoid deserted areas.


In Case of Fire–any age

Help your family know how to leave the house quickly & safely in case of fire.

Show children the emergency numbers for Fire, Police & Poison Control listed in the front of the telephone book. Tell children to dial “0” for the operator in case of an emergency. For children who can’t read, make a picture chart with the numbers. Buy a small fire extinguisher to keep in the kitchen & a smoke alarm for your home.

Practice leaving the house quickly, using different exits. Make these sessions family affairs so that everyone will know exactly what to do in case of fire or an accident. Practice until you are sure children understand what to do. Children are much more likely to stay calm in a crisis if they feel they know what to do.

You really can’t teach safety in stages. A six-year-old needs to know as much or almost as much as a twelve-year-old.


Helping Children Succeed–any age

Try with your children to set up daily situations in which they succeed. Have they learned to swim? Are they able to locate a needed number in the telephone book?

Convey to children your expectations that they will start & complete the task or project. Be optimistic, & check that your children have what they need to complete what they are doing.

Provide jobs & activities they can do & will feel proud of having accomplished. These include building something needed around the house, taking care of a special corner in the garden or cooking a meal for the family.

Let your children know that you–an adult–also have needs. You need praise, encouragement, love–& criticism & put-downs hurt you, just as they hurt them.

Ideally, parents should talk to each other first before they tell children what to do.



Categories: positive parenting | Leave a comment

Something to think about

“We worry about what our child will become tomorrow that we forget that he is someone today”

Stacia Tauscher

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Parents are usually impressed to see the matching skills in their 2-year-old child. However, not many understand what all the brouhaha is about! Well, these skills are an extremely important milestone for your toddler.
You’ve been pointing out different objects to your toddler in pictures as well as real life. You’re also exhilarated when she follows suit and points out a few. But do you know the multiple benefits of these skills?
Advantages of Picture Matching Lesson Plans for Toddlers
• Improved Cognitive Skills:
What your toddler sees in a picture is just a one-dimensional image of that object. However, when she learns to match a real life object to it, she can actually make out the basic differences between the two. This, in itself, is a sure shot indicator of her cognitive skills. Sometimes, the picture of the object may be a bit different from the real deal. For instance, the cube in a photo may be red whereas the real cube may be multicoloured. But, when your toddler matches the object to the picture, she’s actually learning about categorising objects based on their various physical aspects.
• Enhanced Language Skills:
While your toddler is matching objects to pictures, you could challenge her to a matching game by showing photos that look different in colour and dimensions from the objects at hand. If he’s able to match them correctly, applaud her and then ask her why she felt that the two were a match. As she tries to explain the logic behind this, she will have to use different words to express herself. This aids in improving her vocabulary and thereby, her language skills.
• Pre-mathematical Skills:
As the matching skills in your 2-year-old child improve, she’ll start matching different looking objects of the same category to one picture. This is known as sorting, and is an important part of mathematics. The activity also helps her understand that the same category objects can have some variation. Though this might seem inconsequential to an adult, it forms the foundation for mathematical skills that will develop in her later years.
• Acts as Pre-cursor to Reading:
The game of matching pictures for toddlers helps them get acquainted to the fact that objects differ from each other in a number of ways. It also helps them identify alphabets and numbers in the later stage. Moreover, studying one-dimensional pictures works as a precursor to developing the ability to decipher printed words.

How to introduce Objects to Picture-matching Activities
Start off by choosing photos and objects that are identical. As your toddler gets used to the game, introduce a different set with slight variations in the picture from that of the real objects. During the later stage, you can introduce her to pictures and objects that belong to the same category but are otherwise completely different. The image could be of a big, red bowl with fruits whereas the object could be a plastic bowl with a few bits of cereal


Categories: Teaching methods, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Sunbird Quote of the Month:

“Grown –ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them” 

                                                                                              Antoine de Saint-Exupery, the Little Prince

Categories: Quotes | Leave a comment

Positive Parenting: Megaskill 9


Common sense is not so common. A reason children may not be using common sense is that it is not a sense we are born with. It is built through experience & practice.

Unlike a subject such as reading or math, common sense has no curriculum. The best we can do is to find areas in which common sense is needed & then figure out ways to give children practice acquiring it.

When you have common sense, you try to see more than one point of view. When you have common sense, you have perspective.


The Careful Eye–ages 4-9

Look around the room & ask children to name everything they see. This activity builds observation skills.

Put several objects on a table. Ask youngsters to look hard & then close their eyes. Remove one or two of the objects. Let children name the things you took away. Turn this game around & ask your children to play it on you.


Memory Stretching–ages 4-9

To encourage information gathering, try questions like these:

Does your back door swing in or out?

Do you put your right or left sock on first?

Who’s the slowest eater in your house?

What did you have for breakfast? For dinner last night? Go back meal after meal to see how far you can remember.

Ask your children to make up questions for you to try to answer.


Guessing–ages 4-9

Ask “guessing” questions & let children ask them of you. How wide is this room? How long is the driveway? Get out the yardstick & check these guesses.

Guess how much different things weigh. A typewriter? A book? Mother? Brother? Put them on the scale & check.

These activities help children make judgements based on what they know to be facts or guesses.


Checking–ages 7-12

Checking is common sense practice, & it can be taught in a straightforward way with a series of questions.

Have we checked to see, for example, that:

There’s gas in the car before starting out on a trip?

There are no cracks in the eggs that we buy at the supermarket?

The seams are tightly sewn in clothes we’re planning to buy?

There are no cars coming before we start across the street–even if the light is green?

We can get children in the habit of doing these checks. With all the checking in the World, there will still be plenty of surprises, but some of the everyday, unpleasant ones can be avoided this way.

Show youngsters the good side of a wormy apple. Ask, “Is this a good apple? Can you eat all of it?” Then turn the apple around. It shows children they have to know both sides of the question. It’s a trick with a valuable lesson.


Using Clues–ages 4-8

Begin by saying, “I’m thinking of something–an object–that is in this very room.” Then give hints, one at a time. Tell about the object’s size, colour, or use. Example: If you are thinking of a saucer, you could say, “It’s the size of a big pancake,” “It’s blue & white,” & “It is used under a cup.” After each clue, let your child try to guess the object.


Asking Questions–ages 9-12

Common Sense also means seeing things from other points of view, putting ourselves as best we can in other people’s shoes.

Read the following scene with your children. Before reading the bank of possible answers, think of what you might answer. Ask for your children’s answers & the reasons why they picked them.

The boy next door. Leah was only nine, but she really liked Michael, the boy across the street. The boy’s family had been away for a year in South America. In the month before their return Leah had crossed off each day on the calendar. She told that to her friend Margo. Finally the big day arrived. There they were. Leah & Michael said hello shyly. Margo was there, too, & what do you think she said?

  1. Nothing.
  2. “Boy, did Leah miss you!”
  3. “Leah’s been counting the days.”


How Time Flies–any age

Give children some common sense about time. Draw a large circle. Mark off this circle into twenty-four equal parts, one for each hour of the day. Pick any day. Start by shading in the hours spent in sleep, then the hours spent at school or on the job. What’s left? Time alone or with friends? Time spent in travel? Time spent on homework or chores? Time watching the TV? Time for meals? Time for hobbies?

Take your time circles & see what you would change if you could. What’s your ideal day?

See what little changes you can make to bring your current days more in line with your ideal ones.


Money Common Sense–ages 4-6

Giving children practice with money is important. I have this attitude about wasting money: I don’t like it.

To teach children how to make change, put pennies, nickels, dimes & quarters (or the equivalents in your own currency) in different sections of an ice cube tray or an empty egg carton. Hand children a quarter & let them give you that amount back in different coins. Use this with other combinations. (Be sure to wash hands after touching the money.)

Gather together some household bills. List each service & the amount owed. Put the name of the bill on the left side of the paper. Put the cost on the right side.

Fold the paper so that the cost side is hidden. Ask your children to predict the amount owed for each bill. Write down the guesses next to the items. Then unfold the paper to show the actual costs.


Eat Well for Less–ages 4-9

Help children practice math by planning nutritious family meals that cost less. Use newspaper grocery ads.

Make up a menu of meals for two days, with your child taking charge of the choices for one meal.                Judge with your child the amount of food needed. Total the prices for the planned meal. Divide by the number of people who will be eating. This gives the cost of the meal per person. Together check your cupboards & refrigerator before going to the store.


Clothes for Less–ages 10-12

Pretend you each have $250 to spend on clothes. Pretend you have absolutely nothing to wear. Make up a complete winter wardrobe from top to bottom. Use newspapers & catalogues. Compare “purchases”. How well did you do?

Talk about the advantage of buying clothes & other items out of season.

Categories: positive parenting | Leave a comment

Sunbird Quote of the Month:

“Your children are not your children . They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself……You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.”         Khalil Gibran

Categories: Quotes | Leave a comment

Positive Parenting: Megaskills 8


We know team players when we work with them:

They don’t always have to get the credit.

They have spirit, & they share it with others.

They laugh with others, not at them.

They pitch in & make sacrifices.

They are helpful, not helpless.

Build a child’s ability to work with others, as part of a team, cooperating to achieve a common purpose.

An uneasy balance exists between individualism & group work in America, especially in the schools. Students are expected to perform & to be graded as individuals, competing rather than cooperating with each other.              The school as an institution is basically just not a hospitable place for teamwork.

All children need ways to show that they can accomplish. Activities at home, even chores, can help. They provide a sense of getting things done, & they help children feel more needed, more important in the life of the family.

There is something special about being in the same place, doing a job together. Start by having them do jobs right with you, next to you. This isn’t just to keep an eye on them; it’s to build the spirit & the sense of teaming, to see ourselves accomplishing a task together.

My friend Ruth remembers bringing her children up on the roof with her & her husband, & together they tackled the job of repairing roof shingles. The children passed the nails; they held the ladder; they felt part of the team.

This same spirit prevails when families bake cookies together or read aloud to each other or change a tire together or shovel snow together or rake leaves together. Children may dislike housework chores but find them more agreeable when we are all in the same room together, one doing the dusting, another doing the polishing or sweeping. They love to rake leaves, but not alone.

It does take more time & patience to teach children how to work, to show them a job step by step, to encourage them, & then to step back & let them take over. It’s easier to do the work for them.         But as with much of parenting, efforts when children are young are an investment in the future.


Real Work, Not Make-Work–ages 4-6

Set attainable goals with your child. Start with easy tasks & work up to harder ones. Example: A four-year-old can bring in the paper every day & wipe the kitchen table.

Turn jobs into games. Set the same task for you & your child. Race each other to see who wipes the table or retrieves the newspaper faster. Chances are, your child will win, on the up & up.

Show children how to do the work–but do not redo their work. Example: The first time a child uses a vacuum, show how to do it & what to pick up.


Divide & Conquer–ages 7-9

Pick a job that has several parts. A good example is preparing a meal. What do you do first? What do you do second? Your list might look like this:

Plan the meal.

Shop for groceries.

Prepare the food.

Set the table

Clean up afterward.

Ask everyone to choose from the list one job to do.


Organising Household Chores–ages 10-12

Together make a list of all the jobs that need to be done around the house. You might separate them into weekly jobs & daily jobs.

Weekly Jobs: Doing laundry, vacuuming, grocery shopping, mowing the lawn.

Daily Jobs: Cooking dinner, making beds, taking out garbage, feeding pets.

Decide together when jobs will be done & who will do them. Write down names next to the jobs. Family members can switch with each other later. Try to avoid labeling work as “girl’s” or “boy’s”.


Let Me Help You!: For older children, tell the story or show the film “It’s a Wonderful Life”. In this classic Jimmy Stewart sacrifices for his family, stays home from college, & manages to keep open a small bank to help poor people get homes. With the help of an angel named Clarence, he learns that he has indeed lived a wonderful life.


What Do We Think?–ages 7-9

Help children practice finding out what others think. Take a poll at home about household products. Should we buy more of this? If yes, why? If no, why not? What could the family buy instead of this product?


What’s Your Opinion?–ages 10-12

Choose one rule that causes family arguments. Ask your child’s opinion of the rule. If it’s about bedtime, that opinion might be, “Having a bedtime is a bad rule. Kids should go to bed whenever they want.” Ask your child to give at least two reasons for this opinion.

Now ask your child to give two arguments for the other side. One might be, “Kids need sleep to keep awake in school.”


Down the Drain & Out the Window–any age

Children may be wasting electricity & water without even knowing that they cost money. For this activity you need some utility bills.

Take a house electricity tour. Check whether lights, radios, or televisions have been left on. Talk with your children about ways to save on utility bills, such as turning off the air conditioner when nobody is home or lowering the heat at night when people are sleeping.

Take a house water tour. Think of all the ways you use water–for dishes, for bathing, for cooking. Then talk about ways you can conserve water.

Look at the bills in the next few months to see the results. Use a set of bills you & your youngster can follow.


Shopping Around–ages 7-12

This activity helps children learn how to compare prices in order to shop carefully for an item they want. You need newspaper ads for new products, classified ads for used items.

Ask children to select an item to “buy” from a newspaper ad & from a classified ad. This might be a bicycle or a television set. Together mark the ads that sound like the best buys. Talk about the items & urge the “consumers” to discuss the ads with other members of the family. Which do they consider the best buys?



Categories: positive parenting | Leave a comment

Sunbird Annual Day Graduation 2017

Dear parents, friends and well wishers

Thank you for another year of opportunity for us to serve you. It was a year of growth for Sunbird.

On March 4th, Sunbird parents and team got a show worth remembering! All the months of preparation for the event paid off in big ways. Everyone was delighted at the bright, bold and happy performers.

Thank you, dear teachers for all your hard work in the conception and execution of this day! Your creativity is always well appreciated!

Enjoy the pictures with us!  – one more thing: Sunbird will be open throughout the summer for exciting camps! 




Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Outdoor fun Indoors and Outdoors

To our dear parents

Thank you for another great year!! Enjoy the pictures of one of our last field trips to Uncle Dan’s gym. He is a gymnast from Romania who has been associated with Sunbird for a long time. He was impressed at how flexible Sunbird children are.

Categories: Fun and Learning | Leave a comment

Sunbird Quote of the Month:

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”              Helen Keller

Categories: Quotes | Leave a comment

Gardening fruits

Dear parents and friends

We want to thank our teachers and students for their faithfulness in watering, weeding and keeping the urban garden we had started a year ago. You may have been the recipient of some of the fruit like spinach, methi etc. Recently we harvested even cauliflower and eggplants. Enjoy some pics of the harvest!

Categories: Fun and Learning, Teaching methods | Leave a comment

Positive Parenting: Megaskills 7


Are you worried about your child’s ability to care about others, to show affection, to be thoughtful?

“Don’t be so selfish.”

“You’ve got to care  about other people.”

Help your child practice caring & having consideration, being interested in others, listening to & learning from them.

I, I, I. Me, Me, Me. These aren’t musical notes. They’re the sounds children make–before they get tuned into You, You, You, & Us, Us, Us. Care is especially needed today.


Family Notes–ages 4-6

Tell your child that each day for three days, you will send each other notes.

Each note will be a special message that will say something nice. The “Something nice” will be something true that one of you has noticed about the other. It might be, “You have a nice smile” or “Your dinner last night was very good” or “I like the way you cooked the chicken.” Let children who do not yet write dictate their messages to you. Children enjoy figuring out nice things to say. Decide on a place to exchange daily notes.


How Does It Feel?–ages 4-8

Start by helping young children describe someone else’s appearance. Ask your child to describe how a certain person–a friend or a teacher–looks. Use drawings.

Ask “how do they feel” questions. Examples: “Jane has just won a race. How does she feel?” “Bill has just fallen down. How does he feel?” “What might each of these friends do, based on how they feel?”

Children will believe you really do understand when you share some “emotional” memories of your own.

Make greeting cards. Decide who needs a greeting card. Does someone need cheering up? Is a friend having a birthday? Do you know a senior citizen who is living alone? Do you have new neighbors who have just moved in?


Let family members “rate” each other. The object is to think positively & to avoid put-downs. What you hope to build is more of an “I care about how you feel” atmosphere at home. Ask:

“How well do I listen?”

“How well do I help around the house?”

“Do I ever make you feel sad? How?”

“Do I make you feel happy? How?”

Think of at least one thing you can do easily that would make your family happy. A kiss, a cookie, a flower, an encouraging word, can give a big, quick lift. Children need to know this so that they can form the habit of making other people feel good.


About Ourselves–any age

Finish these sentences separately & compare answers.

I am happy when__________.

I am afraid of__________.

I am sad when__________.

It’s funny when__________.

My favourite things include__________.

When I am alone, I__________.

I really care about__________.


Our Block–ages 4-6

Draw a neighborhood map together. In the middle of the paper, draw your own home. Draw with a free hand. Don’t worry about exact distances between places. Fill in street names & telephone numbers for places & neighbors.


People Scavenger Hunt–any age

Together go on a people scavenger hunt in your memory. Do you know anyone who speaks another language? Has been in a play? Has a relative who is more than ninety years old?

Think about someone you saw recently who is different. Examples: A street person carrying old bundles, a person in a wheelchair, a blind person.


Who Can Help Me?–any age

Make two columns on a paper. At the top of the left column write: HELP NEEDED FOR. At the top of the right column, write: WHO CAN HELP? Post the paper. Those who can help will put down their names & time they will help.       The idea is to get children in the habit of using skills to help one another.


Heroes Among Us–any age

Cut out newspaper articles about heroic acts by ordinary individuals. Examples: Someone rescues a person from a fire; a neighbor stops a robbery; a youngster saves a child from being hit by a car.

Think together about one or two caring, unselfish people, famous or not, whom you admire. What do you like about them? Are there ways to become more like them?


The Gift of Time–any age

Talk about gifts that people love to receive but that don’t cost much money, if any. Think about making gifts at home. What materials are needed to bake cookies, to sew a potholder etc.

Try to think of gifts that aren’t “things”. You might share a special skill in order to help someone.    For children, it might be: “I will play ball with my younger brother for one hour.” “I will make my sister’s bed for three days.”

Some of the best things between parent & child are still free! And one of the best & most surprising things between brothers & sisters is the caring they can show toward each other.

When Brian was nine, illness forced him to be bed-ridden for six months. Every day, his sister, Eve, age seven, would come bouncing in from school, ready for some outdoor play. But first she would go in to see Brian & ask, “Want to have my day?” Then she would launch into funny vignettes about classmates & teachers & special events. They would laugh a lot. It was a good time for both of them–the giver & the receiver.

Where had this little girl learned this secret for sharing her day? It was what she saw at home. Both of her parents worked. When they got home, they each told a story from their day, usually a funny one. She listened & she learned.



Categories: positive parenting, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Christmas Sunbird 2016

Dear Parents

Thank you for your patience.We faced a snag with uploading the pictures. Just a little recap: Sunbird had a fantastic Christmas 2016, with parents participating along with the children. The video coverage is 30 minutes long and anyone who wants it can bring a USB.

We were able to upload some pictures of the fun. Please enjoy them.


Categories: Celebrations | Leave a comment

Blog at