Sometimes Triton and I get all caught up helping our kids with school work, getting them to and from their music and sports lessons, etc. But really? The single most important thing we can teach our kids is to be kind. Bullying (both online and in person) is rampant among kids as well as adults. If more people lived by kindness first, the world would be a better place. (Ahem, that means you too, 45.) Part of fostering genuine kindness in our kids is by coming up with acts of kindness you can practice with your kids on the regular.
Kindness has a ripple effect. When someone receives an act of kindness, particularly a random one that requires no reciprocation, they are more likely to pass that kindness on. You know, pay it forward!
My mama and pop taught me well, and we’re showing our kids how to show kindness to others.
Acts of Kindness You Can Do With Your Kids
Hold the door
When I am running errands by myself or with my family, it always gives me a smile when I see a kid stop to hold the door for someone – even me! It’s such a simple act, but it shows such courtesy and respect to others. Remind your kids to open the door for others, especially those with young children, carrying things, or the elderly or disabled. However, holding the door just to be kind regardless of the baggage being carried by the recipient of the kind act is also appreciated! After a while, it just becomes habit – a good habit.
This is such a fun activity regardless of age. In fact, teenagers are often the biggest fans of kindness rocks because it allows them to be creative and spread a positive message at the same time. Start with a bunch of plain rocks and paints or markers to decorate. Be artistic – write positive messages on the rocks and hide them throughout your city. Many communities have social media pages or groups that designate a hashtag or saying to write on the rock. Finders then post the rocks on social media, hide the found rocks, or create more to keep the positivity moving. Messages such as “you matter”, “you rock”, and “be kind” are often found on these stones of kindness.
Share talents at a nursing home
Find a local nursing home and have your child share their own gifts with members of the community. If your son or daughter is a musician, they may choose to play a special recital or concert on their instrument. Singers could perform solos or ensembles with other talented vocalists. Don’t worry if your child doesn’t have a musical bone in their body. Simply reading a story to a resident is sharing the gift of time, companionship, and education. We’ve even just had the kids read one of their children’s books aloud. Believe me, those residents just love the time spent and don’t expect for you to read them the next great historical novel.
When I was a kid, we did this through our church. I hated the thought of having to spend time with old people in a scary nursing home, but as soon as I got there and saw how happy they were to see us I changed by mind. It may be intimating at first, but your kid will quickly warm up once they are there.
Send thank you letters
Think about someone who has made a difference in your life. This may not be an obvious person, like a parent or your spouse. It may be a teacher, a mentor, or a colleague. Write a letter to that person or take a moment to call them and read your words of gratitude. Model this with your children and have them do the same. This not only will add joy to the recipient’s day, but it feels good to show kindness and gratitude without having a particular reason. We have taught our kids to handwrite thank you notes for gifts received at holidays and birthdays. But this is something even more special. Believe me, you’ll want to do this with your kids again and again.
These are simple tasks to promote kindness in your home. These acts of kindness you can do with your kids can spread positivity way beyond your own family. Hopefully, you can these as a starting point to make a difference in your community and the world around you.
Most importantly, you will be teaching your kids to make a difference with their positive actions. Good lessons all the way around!