It is very important for kids (and adults!) to use good judgement before speaking. So often kids’ emotions are in control and they speak before thinking. A simple tool to encourage kind words is to see if their words would get past the three gates.

There are three gatekeepers, and each one has a very important question.

  • Is it true?
  • Is it necessary?
  • Is it kind?

If what we are about to say doesn’t pass all three gates, then we shouldn’t say it. Practicing the three gates helps us become more intentional with our words.

Spend some time with kids talking about each of those questions. How do we know if something is true? Remind them that a piece of playground gossip might not be a reliable source of information.

Is it necessary? Does anyone benefit from hearing these words? Does it help anyone?

What is kind, and what is unkind? If someone said that about you, would it make you feel good, or bad?

It takes practice with kids, and we can’t expect them to use their thinking brain all the time. But when we hear kids say unkind words, we can stop and review the three gates. And let’s be honest, we all need to remember the three gates from time to time ourselves!

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