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Raising a "Cool Kind Kid"

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Early in the morning in December, 2001, shortly after 9/11, I was awakened with the following poem in my head.  I tried for two hours to go back to sleep, but it persisted.  I finally got up and wrote it down.  It hasn't changed since then, except for the addition of one stanza when I decided it would make a great book for parents and teachers.  It sat for quite a while until I was sure of what to do with it.  

Social Skills for Kids

Having spent the last almost 20 years teaching social skills classes to kids, developing curriculum materials on that topic, and writing a few social skills books for kids, as well as bullying prevention books for kids, I'm realizing that this poem, now 17 years old, is the true compilation of all the things that make up a Cool Kind Kid.  It states who and what is a Cool Kind Kid.  It shows what a Cool Kind Kid is, does, says, and what a Cool Kind Kid isn't, doesn't do or say.  It offers tips for how to raise a polite and mannerly child, as well as providing a framework for guiding a child into adulthood with the tools and skills needed to develop healthy relationships and have a successful life.

Bullying Prevention

Research is now showing that bullying is starting in preschool, as young as age 3.  Research has also been showing that social skills training, or what is now termed social competence training, at young ages, is the missing link in bullying prevention.  Proactive tools for equipping young children with the skills for rejecting bullying will help stop the bullying epidemic we have today.

Raising a "Cool Kind Kid"

It all starts in the home
When a young child first says "please
We follow him to preschool
Where he learns not to tease
Along the way with others' help
He soon learns how to care
To be kind and honest
And play fair and share

When he steps outside his door
He then begins to see
That many different people
Live in his community

Asking what he can do to help
Gladly doing his chore
He puts the needs of others first
And cares about the poor

He learns respect for others
Himself and property, too
He appreciates what's done for him
And always says "thank you"

He's known to be the friendly one
A really, kind, cool kid
He stands up to the bully
"We don't like what you did"

He's learned to live The Golden Rule
At home, camp, sports and school
His kind heart clear to others
They see he's "kind" and "cool"

The poem was originally written with the following chorus:

I'm a citizen of the USA
And proud to say I care
I'll fly our flag so high
They'll see it everywhere

I'll respect our rights and freedom 
Until the day I die
And be grateful when I see our flag
Fly in a clear, safe sky.

Copyright, 2001, by Barbara Gilmour

 Social Skills Tips for Implementing the Poem

  1. Choose the skills you want to teach your child or students
  2. Teach them the skill, repeating until they understand and are able to do it
  3. Provide guidance and encouragement as they learn and practice
  4. Model the behavior you want them to learn
  5. Be supportive and encouraging when they need to "try again"
  6. Praise them every time they use this new skill
  7. Be sure to let them know when others have commented on their kind and polite behavio

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