Amid our busy lives, it’s easy to lose sight of the little things we can do to make the world a kinder, gentler place. Thinking back to all the responsibilities of raising kids, not to mention trying to balance a career, I’m not even sure how I did it all. Still, I made sure my kids knew the importance of being kind to others, particularly to those who are less fortunate in a variety of ways. Throughout their childhood, I saw both of my kids show acts of kindness toward others for which I was very proud.
But one act in particular, has stuck with me to this day. I think my son was in middle school at the time. One day, right after Christmas (or the Winter Solstice, as we celebrated it), my son informed me he had given away most of his gifts to his best friend. The boys had been best friends since kindergarten. But I was instantly taken aback. After all, we had just spent all that money for our son!
I knew his friend’s family was going through some financial difficulties, but I didn’t realize how bad it was. My son proceeded to tell me not only didn’t his friend receive any gifts that year, but his father was going to have to sell the boy’s Xbox to pay bills. My attitude quickly changed. My heart filled with empathy for my son’s best friend and his family, and I was filled with pride that my son had made such a kind and generous gesture.
Teaching kids kindness really isn’t difficult to do. There are thousands of ways in our day-to-day lives to show kindness to others. In fact, to make it fun, why not set a goal with your kids, and see how many acts of kindness your family can rack up in a single day? Here are some simple ways kids can show kindness. Some of these, you might want to do together.
Call your grandparents or great-grandparents. This is a big one because often grandparents are the ones to initiate calls. So make your grandparents’ day by making the call.
Visit an elderly neighbor. Many older people are shut in because they can’t drive. Even those who do drive may not get the social interaction they need. Look around. There’s likely someone in your neighborhood who could use some company.
Offer a compliment. It couldn’t get any easier than this. But don’t offer praise you don’t mean because it’ll come off as disingenuous. Think about what you like about what the person is wearing, their personality, or something they’ve done.
Make a donation. This could be a small monetary donation to a good cause, or you could donate items you no longer need to a homeless shelter, animal rescue, or toys for tots collection.
Help someone with their homework. Do you know a classmate who struggles in a particular subject? Offer to help them study for a test or to understand a concept for a homework assignment.
Take an extra lunch to school someone who forgets theirs. Then when you get to school, ask your teacher to help you find a student who needs it.
Stand up for someone. Do you know a student who’s bullied or always left out? Look for an opportunity to tell those who are being judgmental they should be a little nicer or that they’re being unfair.
Offer someone your support. Do you know someone who’s going through a hard time such as a serious illness or whose parents are going through a divorce? Lend them your shoulder, and offer to listen.
Make friends with someone who seems left out. Is there a classmate who’s always standing alone on the playground or who sits alone at lunch? Offer to join that person.
Offer to help out a mom. Do you know someone with young children? Offer to spend a couple of hours watching and entertaining them while the mom catches up on chores.
Bake cookies for your teacher or boss. Show your appreciation by baking their favorite cookies or some brownies.
Buy a homeless person a meal. If you see someone wandering who clearly looks homeless or is standing on a street corner with a sign, pick up a meal, and deliver it to them.
Hold the door for someone. This is another super easy gesture that’s sure to be appreciated by the elderly and disabled or really anyone.
Write an apology to someone you’ve hurt. We’ve all said and done things on occasion that hurt someone’s feelings. So take ownership of it, and write a heartfelt apology.
Help someone carry something. When you see someone trying to juggle multiple things or carry a heavy object, offer your assistance.
Post something nice on the social media page of someone who needs a friend. Do you have a social media friend who no one ever pays attention to? Make that person’s day with a positive comment on their page.
Take a neighbors dog for a walk. Is there a dog in your neighborhood that never gets to go for walks? Just make sure you find out the dog’s energy level to make sure you’re able to handle it or to ensure you don’t overexercise the dog.
Do a chore for your brother or sister. What a great way to get back in your brother or sister’s good graces. And who knows, maybe sometime they’ll return the favor.
Buy a friend a candy bar. This is a simple way to show your friend you’re thinking of them.
Volunteer for a good cause. There are many opportunities right in your community. You could volunteer at a soup kitchen, by picking up trash at a park, or helping with a canned food drive.
Help someone with their yard work. Do you know someone who’s handicapped or elderly? Offer to mow, rake, pull weeds, or shovel snow.
by Kimberly Blaker
Post date: December 4, 2017
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