Oscar the Grouch on PBS Sprount Sunnyside Up Show with Sean and Chica

Teaching kindness and empathy can never begin to early. PBS Sprout thinks the same way and will soon begin a “Kindness Counts” initiative to help teach kindness to young viewers. This initiative will begin later this year and will feature different characters and celebrities.

With the focus on bullying recently, “Kindness Counts” is aimed at teaching empathy at a young age so that children can carry it into their older years and have more respect for their peers as they grow. Of course, this is something that not only should be taught by a television but emphasized in the home. Parents are their children’s best teachers and they too must teach and demonstrate kindness for their children for it to see a significant impact.

 “The early years of life appear to be critical for the development of children’s sympathy and caring behavior,” said Dr. Nancy Eisenberg, Regents’ Professor of Psychology and Editor, Child Development Perspectives. “Children who attend to and respond to others’ distress and need in the late preschool years are more likely to be caring and helpful people in adolescence and early adulthood. Thus, it is critical that parents and teachers be aware of ways that they can foster their children’s positive behaviors early in life.”

Like Sesame Street, and other programs on PBS Sprout, the show can have the most benefit when viewed with adults. The “Kindness Counts” initiative will be most effective if the special segments and lessons are viewed with an adult and practiced at home or other place.