Teaching kindness probably ranks high on your list of parenting goals. But it’s an easy thing to lose sight of in the day-to-day hustle of school, work, activities, dinner and homework (repeat!).
How do you regularly encourage thoughtfulness in a way that resonates with the whole family? We found four kindness activities for kids and parents to help you keep kindness at the center of your family’s busy life—no Herculean efforts required.
1. Participate in Start with Hello Week
Loneliness. Isolation. Feeling left out. They can be all too common feelings for young people. To combat this reality, there’s an amazing movement called Start with Hello Week that runs September 23-27 this year. It’s a program that teaches students in grades K-12 how to make connections and create inclusive classrooms. To participate, simply download the free materials and guide then encourage your school—or your kid’s favorite club—to participate. And, finally, watch the kindness spread to those who may need it most.
2. Brainstorm Random Acts of Kindness for Kids
What’s the best way to get your kids to participate in kindness activities? Give them ownership over the process. Instead of family game night, spend an evening together brainstorming how you can spread kindness. Set your Time Timer PLUS® 20 Minute to the full time and talk about times when other people were kind to each of you and how it made you feel. Then take a short snack break and set the timer again. For round two, take out a big sheet of paper and write down as many random acts of kindness as the family can dream up. Hang it up on the wall when you’re done and put check marks next to items as family members do them over time.
3. Share Daily Kindness Stories Over Dinner
Part of teaching kids kindness is simply keeping the subject top of mind. Create a simple mindfulness activity over dinner most nights. Start the conversation off by going around the table and asking each person to share the kindest thing someone else did for him or her that day and the kindest thing he or she did for someone else. Talk about how giving and receiving kindness made each of your feel and how it affected your overall day. This helps everyone remember why kindness is such a worthwhile goal and how much it can positively impact others.
4. Model Kindness (and Include Your Children!)
You’re probably showing your children how to be kind already, but do you actively include them in those activities? Have your children help you make that lasagna you’re taking to friends who just had a baby and explain to them why you’re making the gesture. Ask tweens or teens to sit down with you when your write sympathy or get-well cards. If it’s someone your children are close with, encourage your kids to write their own cards or notes. Even sending funny gifs to a friend going through a rough patch models kind gestures (and helps get teens on board!).
Try any one of these activities to help nurture the kind hearts already living at your house. It’s bound to lead to even more random acts of kindness.