“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain
Holding a door open. Giving up your seat for someone. Offering someone a helping hand. Is it human nature, or do we have to teach our children to be kind?
February 17 is National Random Acts of Kindness Day, but do we really need a designated day to instill kindness?
Instead, let’s make being kind part of every day. Follow these simple steps to encourage our children to master the incredibly important skill of kindness:
1. Teach them the true meaning of kindness. The word kindness is defined as the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate. Discuss and role-play with your children what it means to be friendly, to be generous, and to be considerate. Find teachable moments. For example, maybe it is teaching your child to share a cookie with a sibling that dropped his cookie on a dirty floor. Or perhaps it is helping mom clean the house before you have guests. The idea is to teach your children that every kind gesture is thoughtful and meaningful.
2. Model Kindness. They say that kindness leads, to more kindness. As parents, model kindness and respect so our children will follow suit. For example, if we use our smile a lot, chances are our children will learn to smile more often. If we offer lending hands, our children will be more likely to be helpful to others. The possibliites are endless.
3. Practice Kindness. The more you practice this skill as a family, the more your children will master the art of kindness. Encourage your children to practice random acts of kindness that might seem small but can mean so much. Here are just a few suggestions:
- Give a nice compliment.
- Say “Hello” to someone new.
- Clean up after someone else.
- Send a thank you note to someone special.
- Help someone before they ask you.
- Push in someone’s chair.
- Make a card for a great teacher.
- Let someone go before you in line.
- Sit by someone new at lunch.
Aesop said it best, “No act of kindness, no matter how small is ever wasted.” Today I encourage you all to print out our Act of Kindness Challenge – fun simple steps to practice the art of kindness. Good luck!
This post was originally posted on the now-defunct Mom’s Choice Matters blog in 2015.
Suzanne Wind is the award-winning author of The SMART Playbook. She is a mom with a mission! Her passion is to empower parents to teach the next generation social skills that fit a modern world and are the key to their future success.
Before kids, she was an international marketing executive in New York City. Suzanne has a multi-cultural background, having been raised in six countries and being introduced to four languages.
Suzanne credits her career and living overseas taught her the importance of using your best social skills, whatever the environment. Although customs may change from country to country, manners is a universal language.
She lives in Connecticut with her husband and three children.