Kindness is Contagious
February 10th–16th is Random Acts of Kindness Week—a whole week dedicated to practicing kindness!
(Artwork from Marianne Richmond's I Believe in You)
As parents, we naturally want the best for our children. We hope our children will grow up happy, they'll be well-behaved, and that they'll have positive relationships and experiences in life. A pretty big project, yes?! We have to remember that life is a process—a journey that we're all on together. Let's start with kindness!
Random Acts of Kindness Week is all about building up compassion and showing others that you genuinely care about them. This week provides a great opportunity to take the big message of kindness and simplify it. It's the perfect time to emphasize to your little ones the importance of treating one another with kindness and respect.
How can we help teach this universal message of kindness to our children so that they really grasp it and practice it? Well, by starting small. Do some good with your kids, or teach some good to them! Find some ideas below to help spread kindness with your children and beyond.
1. Teach kindness in your words and actions. Provide an environment for your children that is built on kindness. Showing kids the value of kindness will help regulate their emotions and teach them to be more intentional in how they treat one another.
2. Encourage your kids to help you and be kind to you. Communicate to them that parents need help too—whether it be with the groceries, chores around the house, etc.
3. Tell your children when you need a hug, or when their little brother needs a hug! This is a simple way for children to start picking up on your emotions and know how they can help you feel better.
4. Send a hug to a grandparent or relative this week! Find a long enough piece of paper so that you and your child can sketch out your child's actual arm span. Have your child lie down on the paper and stretch his arms out wide so that you can trace around his full arm span (like a warm embrace!). Then, cut out the paper embrace and send it in the mail!
5. Remind your kids to say "please" and "thank you," to always express their gratitude openly. Suggest that they say "thank you" to their bus driver, or write a thank you note to their teacher.
6.Practice having a positive attitude during tough times, and watch how it can positively affect others around them. Ask your children what they observed during the process.
7. Share the greatness of a compliment. Try crafting Valentine's Day cards around offering each recipient a compliment.
8. As a family, brainstorm things you can do together that are consciously kind. Post the list up on the fridge and commit to doing them throughout the week!
9. Ask your child to have someone new over for a play-date, someone they wouldn't always necessarily ask to come over and play.
10. Take the weekend to clean out closets, sift through the kitchen for cans, and donate items to homeless shelters or communities that could really use them.
11. Donate old books or toys that are too young for your kids. Have your children write a kind note to stick in the books you give away.
12. Find ways to volunteer with the whole family right in your community! Go to the closest animal shelter and talk dogs together as a family, help a neighbor shovel her driveway, or perhaps visit a nursing home.
Be sure to remind your children that practicing kindness doesn't mean you should expect a reward, or something in return, but that you should feel fulfilled by making someone else smile.
What kind thing will you do today?