Most parents want to encourage their kids to be kind, empathetic, and generous. Even though it isn’t always easy, helping your kids learn about and practice kindness, can help make it much more of a regular habit for your whole family. In fact, studies even show that kids who display more prosocial behaviour (like sharing and kindness) are happier, more well-liked, and more successful at school. So in celebration of World Kindness Day, which is taking place on the 13th of November, we wanted to share 8 of our favourite random acts of kindness that kids can put into practice today!
1. Donate Items to People in Need
A great activity for kids to start with is asking them to declutter their toys, books and clothes they no longer want or use. Rather than just throwing items away, it’s important to show all the ways they can pass along these items and give them to others not so fortunate or in need. Whether it's donating them to charity, a library, a homeless shelter or just simply handing them down to friends and family- these habits will hopefully stay with them as they grow up too!
2. Give Genuine Compliments
Random acts of kindness can be as simple as saying something nice to someone. Teach your child to make it a habit to offer compliments and praise other people’s efforts. Together, set a goal at the beginning of the day to give away at least one compliment. Whether your child says, ‘I like your trainers’ to another child at the playground, or, ‘Your hair looks nice today’ to their sister, it’s also important to talk about what it means to give compliments and how much it can mean to the recipient.
3. Write Thank You Notes
Thank you notes are not just for gifts your child has received. Instead, teach your child there are always people you can thank at any time of the year. Discuss together all the people who work hard to make your child's life better and encourage them to thank them. Help them write genuine thank you notes (or draw pictures) for people they appreciate: a teacher, a family friend or a relative. They really will make someone's day!
4. Donate To A Food Bank
Show your kids that an easy way to help out is to donate any spare food to your local food bank. Often supermarkets will have a list of the items they specifically need in that area, so you could even encourage your child to choose a few things from the list and pick them out specifically on the weekly food shop to donate. Find your nearest food bank here.
5. Volunteering Time
Volunteering is a fantastic way to teach children about the practical ways they can be kind. One really easy idea for volunteering as a random act of kindness is for them to get involved in the next local litter picking at the beach/park or other areas. Not only will your child learn the value of volunteering, but they will also gain an appreciation for the people who usually pick up litter for them.
6. Helping An Elderly Neighbour
Choosing to help an elderly neighbour unload their food shopping from their car, or just helping them out in the garden can really be a rewarding way for kids to practice kindness. Not only are they boosting morale and helping someone not as able as them, but they’re also keeping them company too!
7. Sitting With Someone New At School
Everyone deserves to feel included at school. One of the best ways to help others feel seen and appreciated is by getting to know them. Encourage your child to expand their horizons and sit or talk with someone new, especially if they see another child on their own. Kids can talk about their hobbies, where they live and their favourite teachers. You never know- a new best friend might be sitting right in front of them.
8. Smiling At Others
There’s nothing more uplifting than a spontaneous smile from someone-and the benefits are mutual. Research shows smiling can help relieve stress, elevate mood and help people feel more positive. Encourage your kids to share a smile to turn a tough day around or as a small act of kindness for someone else.