Sprout Campaign Spreads Word: 'Kindness Counts'

Sprout is sounding the theme "Kindness Counts" in a new prosocial initiative aimed at building empathy in preschoolers.

The program is designed to support the development of empathy in preschoolers by promoting small acts of kindness that matter big.

The long-term campaign will include a series of PSAs, digital and social media components, programming tie-ins and local extensions, all targeting parents and caregivers of preschoolers. The ultimate goal is to log 1 million acts of kindness reported to Sprout from families all across the country.

"As bullying among school-aged children continues to be a growing concern for communities and parents across the nation, it is now more critical than ever -- and never too soon -- to start building empathy in young, preschool-aged children," Sprout president Sandy Wax said in a a release. "Empathy and kindness are a consistent theme with Sprout's gold-standard programming and trusted characters, so Sprout is uniquely positioned to deliver our ‘Kindness Counts' message to families of preschoolers all across the country."

Launching in August, Sprout's "Kindness Counts" PSAs will feature preschoolers, Sprout characters and even celebrities demonstrating real acts of kindness.

Families will be encouraged to visit the "Kindness Counts" microsite at SproutOnline.com to add their child's act of kindness to the Kindness Counter.

Various acts of kindness sent in from Sprout families nationwide will be highlighted on the air during Sprout's live morning show, The Sunny Side Up Show.

Parents will also be able to find articles and expert advice on the value and importance of developing empathy in young children, printable materials that daycare providers or families can use at home or in school to track their own small acts of kindness, and links to games and activities at SproutOnline.com that celebrate the spirit of kindness.

Kindness materials will also be available through the website to local communities, daycare providers and affiliate partners so that children and families can learn more about kindness and track their individual acts.

Sprout, a joint venture network that's part of Comcast-controlled NBCUniversal, also will host several local grassroots events that will take place throughout the year in yet-to-be determined markets featuring Sprout talent.

According to a Harris survey of more than 1,000 parents nationwide, 67% of parents with children ages 3-7 worry that their children will be bullied (The New York Times, October 2010). And 83% of Sprout parents surveyed are concerned about their preschoolers potentially being bullied or bullying others.

Building empathy with young children can help encourage them to consider other people's feelings and offer help or expressions of understanding -- something as simple as a hug, getting a towel to help clean up a spill, or sharing a box of crayons with a friend.

Earlier this year, First Lady Michelle Obama said during the White House Conference on Bullying Prevention, "As parents, we know we need to make a real effort to be engaged in our children's lives...but parents aren't the only ones who have a responsibility. We all need to play a role."