Teaching Kids the Power of Kindness

Every holiday season, I look forward to Noomii’s Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar. It’s my secret to make the season brighter. When I consciously incorporate simple acts of kindness into each day, I feel great about myself and notice other people’s’ kindness to me – like when people hold the door open, say thank you, or smile. Kindness in my world multiplies.

As I eagerly signed up for this year’s emails, it occurred to me that I can create this for my kids. So, I pitched the idea to my five year old son. At first he wasn’t sure, but then he got pretty excited. His two year old sister started yelling, “Me too!”. (Okay, so she says this about most things, but I still appreciate her enthusiasm.)

This year, along with their 24 daily pieces of chocolate (yum), my kids will get to pick a piece of paper from a holiday tin with an act of kindness for the next day. The idea is to plant the seed that kindness is simple, always available, and feels great. The kids might not fully understand it now, but when they look back, they will.

A small warning: Don’t expect perfection of yourself, your spouse or the kids. This is a new skill and you have a busy life. Perfection isn’t needed to make it count. If you forget a day or the kids aren’t cooperating, make it up the following day or just let it go. Don’t nag them to see the deeper meaning. Just have fun and celebrate what gets done.

Here are some ideas to get you going.

Ages 2 to 4:

  • Give sibling, parent or caregiver a hug.
  • Tell mom and dad “I love you.”
  • Share a treat with mom or dad.
  • Phone or skype grandparent and say “I love you” and sing a song.
  • Make a picture for a caregiver, friend or sibling.
  • Drop some coins from a piggy bank in a charity collection bin.
  • Stop and say hello to a neighbor with mom and dad.
  • Choose a food item from the pantry and drop it at a donation bin.
  • Choose some gently used toys for donation.
  • Skype or phone a relative you don’t often talk to.
  • Help parent put groceries in cupboard or fridge.
  • Put away some toys or books.
  • Put cup and dish in sink or dishwasher.
  • Give someone a high five.
  • Help your parent hold the door for someone at the store or daycare.
  • Stop with parent and wave to someone and smile.
  • Practice saying please and thank you.

Ages 5+:

  • Write a note that says “I love you” and leave it for mom or dad.
  • Draw a picture and give it to a friend.
  • Record a video singing a song and send to grandparents.
  • Help parents or neighbor shovel the walkway.
  • Write a note of gratitude for teacher or caregiver.
  • Smile and say hello to someone unexpected.
  • Choose a food item from the pantry and drop at a donation bin.
  • Choose some gently used toys for donation.
  • Tidy up your bedroom.
  • Bring in neighbor’s garbage bins from the curb.
  • Skype or phone a relative you don’t often talk to.
  • Tidy up a cluttered part of the house (e.g., book shelf or play room).
  • Stop in and say hello to school administrative staff and wish them a good day.
  • Get a bedtime snack for siblings.
  • Drop some coins from a piggy bank in a charity collection bin.
  • Help with a chore that is not normally their job.
  • Help parent tidy up a closet or other household job.
  • Keep a candy in your pocket and give it to someone unexpectedly.
  • Wave out the car window to a stranger when driving with parents.
  • Hold the door open for someone.
  • Offer to help a sibling.
  • Purchase winter gear and donate to a snowsuit fund.
  • Hold the door for someone today.
  • Ask someone about their day.

Older Kids (Many of the Ages 5+ work for this group too):

  • Volunteer at a food bank or other activity.
  • Sing a holiday song as you walk down the street and smile.
  • Do a chore for someone else that is not normally your job.
  • Prepare the family a simple dinner or lunch.
  • Donate a portion of allowance or savings to charity or other needy cause.

Have fun!

~ Colette Kaminsky

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