Introducing young children to the concept of peace helps them return to those feelings of calm and contentedness when they experience emotional overwhelm. Linking the feeling of peace with a particular person, like a parent, teacher or friend helps reinforce for kids that they’re not alone when they need help regulating.
Finally, thanking those people who bring peace to their lives encourages gratitude, generosity and a larger sense of connection. This activity is incredibly simple, yet quite impactful.
- Blank cards or paper
- Pen or pencil
- Colored markers, crayons or pencils
What Is Peace?
This is a great conversation starter while sitting around the dinner table or driving home from school. Ask your kids what peace means to them. Encourage them to give an example of when they felt at peace, helped a friend calm down or helped resolve a conflict. Share your own definition and stories.
Who Are the Peacemakers?
Now help your kids connect what they know about peace with specific people. Maybe a teacher helped them resolve a challenge with a friend – that’s being a Peacemaker. Firefighters who help keep communities safe from natural disasters are also Peacemakers. Healthcare workers caring for ill patients are Peacemakers. See how many different kinds of Peacemakers you can name.
Ask kids to visualize what peace looks like to them, then create cards or drawings thanking the Peacemakers in their family, community or neighborhood. While we might think of peace signs or doves as symbols of peace, be open to the unique ways children might visualize peace differently.
In Person: make a special trip to the fire station, walk over to the neighbor’s house or arrive early at school to help your child hand deliver their Peacemaker Thank You Card in person.
By Mail: if you can’t give your card in person, help your child address and stamp their special message of gratitude.
Virtual: snap a photo of your thank you card and post it on Facebook or Instagram. Be sure to tag the person you’re sending it to, if possible, as well as the organization, like a hospital, school or fire or police station. We’d love to see your Peacemaker Thank You Cards, so tag Mindful Littles too!
The Science Behind the Smiles
Teaching peace has been shown to reduce physical and verbal violence among youth and help kids be more conscious of their actions. Other research shows practicing gratitude improves self-esteem, decreases instances of depression and boosts the immune system. While the notion of peace seems simple, children can benefit from exploring their own ideas of peace and recognizing the Peacemakers in their lives.