Do you remember the last time someone was kind to you? How did it make you feel?
Kindness is powerful. One small act can change the entire course of your day, your week, or your whole life (or someone else’s). Kindness connects us with those around us, and sharing kindness is a practical and meaningful way to make a real difference in your community.
“Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.” - Henry James
During this holiday season, there are countless opportunities to get into the spirit of giving with your kids and let a little more light in.
Modeling Kindness To Children
The first step in teaching kids about kindness is to model kindness and including kids in your process. This is a simple and effective way to help children understand the value and joy of giving and to take that forward in their lives as they become kind, compassionate, and generous adults. Here are a few tips to develop your kids’ understanding of kindness:
- Ask your children what kindness means to them. Make time for them to think about this and share it with you by drawing a picture or writing it down. You can make it a fun game by using the Time Timer PLUS 5 Minute.
- Observe your kids and let them know how happy it makes you to see them being kind, for example when they share toys, are gentle with a sibling, include a classmate in play, or say a heartfelt thank you when someone helps them.
- Ask your child what was one kind act someone did for them recently, and how did that affect their day? Helping kids to understand the ripple effect acts of kindness can make helps them to understand the impact they can have on others.
Below are 10 ways to light the world with kindness this season, and beyond.
- Make it a family event. Choose an activity everyone will enjoy and make it a memorable family tradition that can become a regular part of your kids’ lives.
- Cook dinner for someone who is sick, for new parents, or a family experiencing difficult times.
- Make homemade gifts to share with neighbors and friends, such as holiday cookies or simple ornaments.
- Visit the animal shelter and take a dog for a walk or play with a cat.
- Spend time with an elder and ask them stories about their lives or help them with a task.
- Volunteer at a food bank or soup kitchen.
- Donate a gift. Kids may choose a toy to donate to the Toys for Tots program or to another local drive for children in your community.
- Create a kindness ideas jar. Make time to brainstorm random acts of kindness with your kids and put the ideas in a kindness ideas jar to use on a regular basis.
- Write thank-you notes. Help your kids come up with a list of people who made a difference in their lives this year and write thank-you notes to them.
- Express gratitude. Encourage your kids to think about what and who they are grateful for. It might be thinking of five things they are grateful for when they first wake up, or sharing around the dinner table about how they both experienced kindness and shared kindness that day.
Jodie Martin is a freelance writer specializing in health and wellbeing, lifestyle, and parenthood. She is also an E-RYT 500 Registered Yoga Teacher, Ayurveda Yoga Specialist, and Three Wisdom Traditions wellness coach. Jodie lives in Asheville, NC.