It goes without saying that we all want to teach our children kindness and empathy. We want our children to see equality, fairness and love. And, as parents, we strive to find the best ways to teach these qualities.
Teaching kindness requires more than just telling our children to be kind. Rather, it’s something children learn by living it. Doing kind things as a family is great for bonding, but also teaches compassion by example.
Take it one step further and explain what you are doing and how that makes someone feel. For example, holding a door open for someone makes them feel important and happy.
These acts of kindness can be small, but doing them with your kids can help pave that path. If anything, young kids are already quite compassionate beings, so they will love making others feel good. It is contagious.
Here is a list of 35 random acts of kindness. Some are big, some small, some relatively simple. All emphasize one thing…kindness.
- Donate gently used toys to a charity of choice
- Gather books to give to a community program
- Let someone go ahead of you in line
- Say something nice to someone, a compliment
- Say hello to a cashier, barista, or clerk, and ask how their day is
- Write a thank you note for a teacher
- Feed the birds
- Call up a relative you haven’t spoken to in awhile
- Share your favourite toy
- Make a painting to give to your grandparents
- Offer to help someone clean up
- Write a nice message on the sidewalk with chalk
- Make a treat for a neighbour
- Hold the door for someone
- Offer to return the cart for someone at the grocery store
- Volunteer at a school event
- Leave a thank you note on the garbage bin on garbage day
- Say thank you to your waitress or waiter at a restaurant
- Smile at everyone you pass while on a walk
- Offer to walk someone’s dog
- Help make dinner
- Make or buy coffee for your barber
- Give a high five to a custodian or groundskeeper
- Leave a note for mom or dad on the fridge
- Hug a friend
- Help a sibling clean up their room or toys
- Make a ‘get well’ card for someone who’s sick
- Read books at a retirement home
- Start a piggy bank collection for a charity
- Bring treats to the local fire station
- Give flowers to a loved one
- Volunteer at a community event
- Put a smiley face on the inside of your mailbox, so that the mail carrier can see it
- Leave bubbles for a family at their doorstep
Try to do some with your kids, or have them pick out a few. Pretty soon, they will likely have ideas of their own!
Whatever kind acts you see your children partake in, acknowledging them (i.e. “you are such a kind person“) is key.
So simple in nature, kindness truly does go a long way.
Christina Chandra is mom to two toddlers, who keep her learning just as much as they do. She lives in Vancouver, where she is a freelance writer and blogger. Christina loves sharing tips and stories about navigating motherhood, how to eat healthy with the kids, as well as just exploring eateries, cafes and play-places. With a background in health and nutrition she also helps with meal planning and offering support to new moms at Turning Mommy.