Spending so much time at home has made me personally think about something critical for now and the future: how to creatively instill kindness and compassion in our children. Specifically, random acts. The gestures that they enjoy doing and, most important, that others don’t expect.
We know they are watching everything we do as we go through our day. When it comes to kindness, you are your child’s primary teacher. It most certainly makes an impression on them when they see us perform a small act of kindness, whether it be holding a door open for a mom with a line, or complimenting someone for a job well done. It’s also important for our children to see and hear us acknowledging when someone else does something nice for us, like letting you exit a parking lot at a busy intersection, by saying “It was really nice of that driver to let me out.”
Kindness is a quality that children learn over time and through practice. Research by Alfie Kohn, author of “The Brighter Side of Human Nature: Altruism and Empathy in Everyday Life”, has found that the desire to help and comfort comes just as naturally to humans as being self-centered or hurtful. Acknowledge and praise your child when they treat someone nicely. Being a loving parent and great role model will go a long way toward raising a wonderful, tolerant human being.
There are many ways to teach compassion and kindness to small children. Simple activities are great ways to get little ones excited.
Here are some fun ideas:
-Fill a Kindness Jar with candy for another family.
-Bring in your neighbor’s garbage cans or do a chore for them without their knowing.
-Leave a treat in the mailbox for your mail carrier.
-Help your child gather outgrown clothes and drop them off at a collection bin.
-Donate a children’s book.
-Leave Heads Up pennies on the sidewalk in your neighborhood or in a parking lot.
-Make a homemade gift or card for someone.
-Let your child put change in the Tip Jar.
Just think how different the world would be if we all took time out to do something nice for someone else. After being cooped up in the house for so long, this a great time to go out into the world and spread joy.
How do we change the world? One random act of kindness at a time.
By Kim Amato / Founder / Baby’s Bounty