As parents and caregivers, we want our kids to practice kindness and compassion. It's the right thing to do, and research proves that showing kindness helps us feel good, be happier, and live longer. While my girls are usually kind, they do have their moments of selfishness. There is hope for them, though! According to Barbara Fredrickson, a leading positive psychology author, people become kinder as they count the number of times they show kindness during the day. I'm excited that I can train my girls to be kind! Here's my list of 25 simple acts of kindness that my kids can do every day as they practice and learn this important life skill.
- Help a senior citizen or mom load groceries into their car and then return the cart to the corral.
- Volunteer to play with a neighbor's kids for an hour or two while the parent takes a nap, does chores, or goes on a date.
- Carry your neighbor's empty trash cans in from the street on trash day.
- Invite someone who is sitting alone to eat lunch or play with you.
- Show your grandparents how to use their computer or cell phone.
- Compliment someone every day.
- Do a sibling's chores for them.
- Give cold water bottles to the mail carrier, road workers, or sanitation crew.
- Pick up litter around your neighborhood, park, or school and throw it away.
- Write a thank-you letter to your parents, another relative, or one of your friends.
- Smile and say hi to someone.
- Buy bottles of bubbles and hand them out to kids in your neighborhood.
- Use part of your allowance to pay the bill for the car behind you at the drive-through or buy someone's dinner.
- Visit a cemetery and pull weeds or grass away from the overgrown headstones.
- Put a small note and popcorn money into the case of a rented movie before you return it.
- High-five a classmate who answers a question correctly at school.
- Dry the slides, swings, and other equipment at the park after it rains.
- Volunteer at a local pet shelter, where you can play with the animals or organize a pet food or blanket collection.
- Clear the table and wash, dry, and put away the dishes after dinner without being asked.
- Write a kind or inspiring note on a piece of paper and leave it in your favorite library book.
- Donate gently used clothing you've outgrown to a local family shelter. Ask your friends to donate, too.
- Pack your favorite dessert in your lunch box, then share it with someone who didn't bring a dessert in their lunch.
- Give your teacher an appreciation gift just because you want to.
- Let one of your siblings go first as you get on the school bus or when you go out for ice cream.
- Hold the door open for your family members, classmates, and other shoppers at stores.
Kindness is a trait I want my girls to show, and I can train them to be kind as we practice simple acts of kindness every day. In addition to these 25 ideas, what other kind acts could you and your children do for others?
Find more about the author: Kim Hart