Today is World Kindness Day and it's a great day to take a minute and not only try to be a bit kinder ourselves, but to also think about how we can encourage our kids to practice kindness every day.
I'm a big believer in the saying "Whatever you feed, grows!" KIND Snacks just launched a program that literally FEEDS KINDNESS! I love it!
- Step 1: Spot someone being kind.
- Step 2: Send that person a #kindawesome card.
- Step 3: Poof! The #kindawesome card is redeemed for a KIND snack and another #kindawesome card to pass along.
- Step 4: Then, that #kindawesome card is passed on for another kind act. and so on. and so on. and so on. YAY!
I have a 13-year-old boy. As I look back on my years in Jr. High, it seems as if teenagers forget their manners . . . quickly. I want him to be a kind and respectful person (even as his hormones, friends, and his burgeoning independence might make him forget sometimes).
The other day I dropped him and a friend off after carpool. One of our neighbors was hauling in garbage cans (phone in one hand and trying to manage multiple garbage cans with the other). Without skipping a beat they both grabbed a garbage can and helped pull them up the driveway.
It's a little thing. It's one of those things we should all think to do. But I'm glad they thought to do it - without being prompted.
So today, I sent him a #kindawesome card from the HowKindofYou.com site. He'll probably get that by 3rd period today when he checks his email. I want him to know that I noticed.
I've tried to make a habit of reinforcing this kind of behavior in my kids in small ways. Little things like:
- Hey - I noticed you ___________ . That was awesome!
- So and so told me they noticed that you did _________. Thank you!
- I love that you did ________ . You've got such a good heart!
Every time it lands right on their heart. They feel it.
Whatever you feed grows. So I try to feed the good things in our kids and in our lives.
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Looking for more ways to feed kindness in your kids? Here are 5 simple things you can do to increase kindness:
Spot Them Doing Kind Things and Tell Them
Like I said above, whatever you feed grows. Be sure to point out the little (important) things you notice them doing.
Spot Others Doing Kind Things and Talk About it
Example is the best teacher. It also doesn't hurt to have your kids see you complimenting and noticing kind (important) things about other people.
Encourage Random Acts of Kindness as a Family
There are endless ways your family can be kind to others. The internets are chock full of great ideas if you go looking. Check out the book "Make and Share Random Acts of Kindness" it's full of fun, simple, ideas that your family will love.
When my kids are fighting I often assign them a chore to do together. Our new favorite idea is to throw them in a "Get-Along T-Shirt" together and make them do the dishes! Last weekend, after a long day of fighting they were sent to the roof to help their dad clean out the rain gutters. They came down happy as clams (which also probably had to do with the fact that they were allowed to go on the roof).
Ultimately, learning to work with someone else is one of the most basic important building blocks of kindness.
Sometimes, we literally need to practice. Gratitude makes us more optimistic, less self-centered, and increases our self esteem. All things that link back to kindness.
Start a family gratitude journal, make a habit of talking about the things you are grateful for around the dinner table, show your kids that you are a grateful person. It's the little things!
What do you do at your house to encourage your children to be kind?
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by KIND Snacks. All of the opinions are our own. Feed Kindness!