The Duchess of Cambridge has opened up about how she is raising her children Prince George and Princess Charlotte to understand the value of kindness. Kate was giving a speech at an engagement for her mental health campaign, Heads Together, when she opened up about her brood. Kindness was the buzzword of the day, as this year's Children's Mental Health Week focuses on kindness and its benefits for wellbeing.
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She spoke in front of children at Mitchell Brook Primary School in north west London, encouraging them to help each other. Kate, who was accompanied by her husband Prince William, said: "My parents taught me about the importance of qualities like kindness, respect, and honesty, and I realise how central values like these have been to me throughout my life. That is why William and I want to teach our little children, George and Charlotte, just how important these things are as they grow up. In my view it is just as important as excelling at maths or sport."
Kate gave a speech at the start of Children's Mental Health Week
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The mum-of-two urged the youngsters to look out for one another, saying: "If you see someone who you think might need help, try and be kind to them. Keep a look out for them if they are on their own or seem sad or worried. Perhaps they just need a hug or someone to talk to. I know it is hard if you are feeling down yourself. But helping someone out will also make you feel so much better too."
Kate also spoke about her own childhood, and acknowledged that she had a very fortunate upbringing. "When I was growing up I was very lucky," the Duchess, 35, said. "My family was the most important thing to me. They provided me with somewhere safe to grow and learn, and I know I was fortunate not to have been confronted by serious adversity at a young age. For some children, maybe there are some here today; I know that life can sometimes feel difficult and full of challenges. I think that every child should have people around them to show them love, and to show them kindness, and nurture them as they grow. This is what Place2Be is doing so amazingly here in your school."
The Duchess presented the first "Kindness Cup" to Nadia Dhicis
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Place2Be is one of eight charities behind the Heads Together campaign led by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. Kate is patron of Place2Be, which supports children at Mitchell Brook Primary School and helped organise Monday's "Big Assembly". A highlight of the day was Kate presenting the first "Kindness Cup" to the child who "has shown exceptional kindness in their school community and beyond". This year's recipient was Nadia Dhicis, a ten-year-old pupil who joined William and Kate on stage in the school hall as she received her gold trophy. Nadia was recognised for her efforts in looking after fellow pupils and her younger brother and sister, plus her volunteering at a local food bank.
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Prince William and Kate spoke to children about kindness
During the engagement, William and Kate listened to a group of children talk about how they rely on each other and the Place2Be counsellors for support. Counsellors Christine Roberts and Virginia Kocik are at the school every day and Place2Be underpins much of the school's ethos. "Is being able to tell each other your worries, and the ability to keep a secret, most important?" William asked the group. Kate added, "Is it really important to have people around you who you can trust? And do you feel you can trust Place2Be?" to which the youngsters all replied, "Yes".
Kate then praised the schoolchildren for having a buddy that they can trust and share their feelings with. "It's great to be as articulate as you all are and understand the importance of your feelings," she said. William added: "There are grownups who would not be as able to say what you have said. It's impressive."