Make Kindness a Family Activity
We all know how good it feels to do something nice for someone else. Kindness is that special energy that floats around the universe, randomly spreading love and goodness to others through others. And, as we all know, kindness feels really good, no matter whether we’re on the giving or receiving end. It puts a smile on our faces and warms our hearts. Who doesn’t love kindness?
By teaching and modeling kindness to our children, we are gifting them a life skill they will carry with them forever. In a world where media and the Internet bombard us with negativity, impatience and intolerance, teaching our children kindness is an important part of their healthy development and role in their communities. And it all starts at home.
- Be a good role model. Set a good example on how to treat others. Children learn to be kind by watching. Think about your word choices when talking about other people. Teach your children how to react with kindness and understanding rather than anger when faced with things they may disagree with. Create a culture of kindness in your home.
- Teach empathy. When at a playdate or reading a book with your young child(ren), ask questions such as, “How do you think he/she is feeling?” Helping your child to read facial expressions and understand social cues is a great way to teach them to think about how others might be feeling.
- Stay active. Get involved in community and school activities whose goals are designed to bring people together. This is a great way for your kids to get to know other people from different families and backgrounds. Kindness comes out of respect for others.
- Join a kindness challenge. Check out KindSpring.org. This site is a space that offers kindness challenges and where people share stories of their acts of kindness and offer support.
Another great idea to instill kindness into your family life is to start a kindness journal. All you need is a notebook or journal and a good place to keep it where it will be easily accessed by everyone in the household. How does it work? Every time someone in the family does something kind for another family member, those present in the room at the time gather and write it down in the journal, noting the date and what the kind act was. The acts of kindness don’t have to be major. Even the small good deeds count, because each one is special in its own way! For example:
February 20, 2019: Dad helped Mom carry the groceries inside.
March 5, 2019: Johnny helped his sister button her coat.
It may seem small, but a kindness journal is helpful in many ways. Here are just a few:
- Teaches what’s important. What’s important to your family? Kindness. This journal and the act of writing down the kind things each family member does for each other, along with reading them aloud together, speaks volumes. It shows your children that kindness is something your family values … a lot!
- Allows reflection. Taking the time to sit down and write about their act of kindness gives your children a wonderful opportunity to stop and reflect on what they did. This gets them thinking and recognizing how their actions impact other people.
- Becomes a great reminder. When times are tough, tension is high and your family has been in a rut for a while, the kindness journal is a great tool to take out and look through as a family. It helps to calm things down and reset perspective. This can help change the mood in the household for the better and inspire use of the journal again.
- It’s a keeper. As parents, we know how quickly time flies by and how fast our kids grow up. The kindness journal will become a cherished family keepsake to treasure for years to come.
There are so many ways to teach kindness and compassion to our children. You can do it simply by complimenting a stranger on her outfit, saying good morning to a neighbor, cheering up a friend who’s down, or saying thank you to the mail carrier. Kindness matters, and our kids are constantly learning from our actions.
Kansas City mom and author Gina Klein loves doing kind things for others, even if it’s as simple as sending them a text telling them how special they are.