It’s important for kids to learn important core values like respect, kindness, empathy and compassion. It’s more important now than ever before, with 76 percent of people agreeing that the world is a less kind place than 10 or 20 years ago.
While you can verbally stress the importance of these character traits, your words only go so far. The best way to teach your kids important life lessons is to set an example with your behavior and reinforce these qualities with family activities, like a recurring family kindness day.
Set a date each month to volunteer your time together, give back, or try a new activity that makes a difference in someone else’s life. Here are a few fun family kindness day ideas that you and your kids will love.
Make “Thank You” Cards
People often underestimate the importance of saying “thank you.” When you thank someone, you acknowledge their effort or service and you make them feel appreciated and valued.
Not only can we sometimes forget to say the words in our always-connected, digital society, we also rarely put the words to paper in the form of a note or card. Challenge your kids to think of all of the people who regularly help them in their lives: teachers, school administrators, the mailman, service people, etc. Find pre-made cards and have your kids write their thank you message. Better yet, turn it into an art project and let your children create their own cards.
You can also get involved with organizations like Operation Gratitude, which sends care packages and “thank you cards” to Veterans, first responders, wounded heroes and other service members.
Race for a Cause
Get outside, get some exercise while giving back to your community or a great cause. There are a number of charity races you can do as a family while simultaneously teaching your kids selflessness and the importance of physical fitness.
Choose a national family event like Race for the Cure, or find charity events in your area. Check Active.com’s list of charitable events (choose your location at the top to see nearby opportunities) or browse through Fitness Magazine’s “Run, Walk, Get Fit for a Cause” list with dozens of national events. If you feel passionate about one cause in particular, head directly to find events to pencil onto your calendar.
Get the whole family involved and bake treats for the neighbors, your child’s class, or anyone who could use a smile. Everyone loves homemade treats and it’s a low-cost activity you can do together, while teaching your kids the basics of cooking and baking. They can even do much of the stirring and measuring themselves.
When finished, have your kids wrap the goodies in a nice container and write a note to go with them. If possible, deliver your goodies on the day they were made, in hopes of getting to their recipients still warm.
Park or Beach Cleanup
Another great way to get outside is to sign up to help with a park or beach cleanup. These activities give kids a first-hand look at the importance of taking care of the environment and reinforce the idea of being respectful and cleaning up after yourself.
Pack a lunch and bring some toys like a football or Frisbee, so when you’re done with the cleanup you can have a family picnic or play at the park or beach.
To find cleanup events like this, check CreateTheGood.org or call your local parks and recreation department. They can likely direct you to a website of city-planned volunteering events you and your children can sign up for.
Nearly every kid loves arts and crafts, but did you know they can donate their handiwork to various charitable organizations? Look for facilities in your area like children’s hospitals or senior centers that accept artwork donations.
You can also teach your kids how to knit or sew and create items for organizations like Halos of Hope, which provides hats for Cancer patients. Check out Crafting From the Heart, and Hugs for Homeless Animals as well.
These simple ideas can make a big difference in the lives of your children and those they’re helping. Instilling this kindness in them at a young age ensures they’ll remember it as they grow up. Not to mention, a family kindness day is just another reason to something fun together.
About Maile Proctor
Maile Proctor a professional blogger and content editor. She writes articles on health and fitness and lifestyle and family. She’s written for Volunteer Match, TakeLessons, Active.com, Travefy and more. She earned her Bachelor’s in Broadcast Journalism from Chapman University, and when she’s not writing she enjoys hiking in San Diego, California. Follow her on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.
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