In the wake of the Orlando shootings I have felt very sick and perplexed like most Americans. I can't help but think about my own brood of children and what I could possibly do to make our world a better place. After all, it's us parents that have to teach our kids to do better and be better.
I don't want my kids to just be receivers of kind acts, rather I am teaching them to be givers of kindness. I am striving to escalate their happiness, enrich their friendships, and reduce bullying by reminding them to do at least one kind act a day. After all, do you really want to raise a punk or a girl that's mean? I certainly don't, so I compiled random acts of kindness that we will be tackling this summer, but first how can we teach kids about kindness?
- Understanding the meaning of being kind~ First you want your kids to understand the importance of being kind. I found a great website to start your journey. Kindness can surely be taught and building a sense of compassion with your kids would be a great start. Children need to hear from parents that caring for others is a top priority. A big part of that is holding children to high ethical expectations, such as honoring their commitments, even if it makes them unhappy. For example, before kids quit a sports team, band, or a friendship, we should ask them to consider their obligations to the group or the friend and encourage them to work out problems before quitting. Also, instead of saying to your kids: “The most important thing is that you’re happy,” say “The most important thing is that you’re kind.” I can't begin to tell you how many children I have come across that are rude to parents and coaches and just down right disrespectful. If we allow that behavior then we are raising tyrants. We too can be better parents guiding kids to be pillars of kindness.
- Create a project with your kids~ What I like to do to avoid my kids getting into a clique is inviting kids that they haven't really played with over and making them feel special. I also teach them to do it on their own to pick a nice act you would like to do for mommy or your siblings.
- Take time to share with your family during dinner time. I think having the family discussions sets the tone for how important it is to be kind. We have a strict rule in our home that we eat dinner together and having these "share" moments truly sets the tone in our home.
- Reinforcement~ Just like flowers need water to grow, our kids also need reinforcement for it to stick. I strive towards getting my kids to practice being kind day after day so it becomes a healthy habit. Whether it’s inviting a new friend over, making a get-well card for someone sick, or simply inviting someone new to sit at your school lunch table, there are many free and easy ways kids can help create a more peaceful world.
I compiled a list of 20 ways you too can instill random acts of kindness this summer. Providing opportunities to practice caring and gratitude can only result in children to be more helpful, generous, compassionate, and forgiving—and they’re also more likely to be happy and healthy. Children learn ethical values by watching the actions of adults they respect. Start being the mentor they need and lets make this world a better place. I would love to hear from you! Comment below and let me know which random acts you will do this summer.
- Donate books to friends or library
- Spread the word: have your kids share their acts of kindness at dinner and to friends
- Volunteer at a food bank
- Sing at a nursing home
- Buy a Starbucks Gift Card. I love this one because it comes in a four pack of $10.00.
- Help end food waste and try to compost.
- Give affection
- Give compliments
- Clean your room without having to ask
- Tape change to a parking meter
- Talk to all sales clerk asking questions and wishing them well
- Thank a mail carrier
- Donate your hair
- Help find a cure! CLICK HERE! (Help Eliminate Duchenne Muscular Distrophy)
- Donate your talents
- Bake for your neighbors
- Tell your family you love them everyday
- Give freely-have kids go through their drawers, toy boxes and closets, make bags and GIVE
- Send a care package to a soldier
- Pick up trash in your neighborhood, beach or play ground