10 FUN ACTS OF KINDNESS THAT CAN HELP TEACH YOUR CHILDREN COMPASSION & EMPATHY
stock photo of children helping in the garden -acts of kindness to teach your kids empathy and kindness
I don't think its ever too early to learn about empathy - it really starts in the younger toddler stages when children start to recognize emotions through your facial changes, or that they feel sad when they cry.... teaching your children and exploring feelings early on can help them empathize with others. they can also learn empathy and intrinsic values through performing acts of kindness and experiencing how people react to that and how that makes them feel. These are great early lessons to be sharing with your children... so here is 10 acts of kindness that can help explore empathy and compassion for others.
1. Encourage your kids to offer a service
Your friends and neighbors may need a little extra help- especially since we are currently going on year 2 of this pandemic lockdown, if you have older kids try getting them to offer to clean someones driveway of snow, weed a garden, wash someones car or any other socially distanced chores your kids can do to help someone in need.
For the younger kids maybe offer assisted dog walking/ grooming or simply organize a play date with your little one as a way to offer a baby free evening to a friend. The key here is to explain to your little one that you are planning an act of kindness to help someone that may be less fortunate in some way and showing them how easy it can be to offer assistance.
2. Send a family member or friend card
This is a great way of telling someone that you're thinking of them, to hopefully brighten someone's day. It's too easy nowadays to get caught up with connecting digitally - so be intentional and send something hand made or personalized to someone you don't see or speak to on a daily basis.
stock photo of a child baking cookies - random acts of kindness
3. Bake someone cookies, or make a meal and deliver it
This idea is even better if you know of someone truly in need such as an elderly neighbor - but a great one none the less to practice on family or friends regardless of their current living situation. Allowing your children to see how happy a simple gesture makes someone will help teach them the rewards of kindness. It's such a kind and generous gesture to offer some time to prepare a simple meal or treat and personally deliver it out of genuine good will.
4. Bring your kids along to a donation drive
Let the kids (of any age) pick out items that people may need such as food or clothing items and bring them along to drop the items off, letting the children do most of the work in delivering it to the facility. Maybe even kicking this up a notch if you have the ability to have small catty conversations with people you may meet there - leading by example is the ultimate teaching moment.
5. Pick up around your neighborhood or at your local hangout
The community always needs your help, a great way to get kids involved in community activities is to simply get out there and dedicate time to clean up the streets, a park, the local beach etc. This teaches kids not only about service to the community but also how mindfulness of cleaning up after yourself is so important to our community. If you're not quite sure where to begin check out a website like this one Keep America Beautiful is a great place to get connected. Another way to find services that need volunteer work is to get on a Facebook group that is dedicated to helping the community and where you can connect with people in your area.
stock photo of a mother and daughter cleaning up the beach - acts of kindness to teach kids compassion and empathy.
6. Be Nice & Smile
This can be so much fun, I tried this with my 4 year old and I'm sure children of any age can get in the swing of it. I have been trying to teach my children what it means to have manners including social manners and spreading kindness to others. Here is what we do... the goal is to make a game out of it and see how many people you can smile to or say hello, thank you, please etc. to in a day. Sometimes I give a little prize or treat if they did a great job and had fun with it.
7. Help Make Dinner for Company
Have your kids help you make a special dinner for your spouse or if you're entertaining company. They will enjoy being a part of the planning and prep and you can make it special for thanking them for all the help and explain how good it makes you feel from their kindness and effort. This also teaches children life skills such as cooking and working as a team.
8. Have a Craft Session
Create that card you're going send grandma by hand with all of the special things you think is special about her.... not just granny but get your kids in on creating a piece of art with some photos of all of the people you love, write down what you like about them or make something really special that reminds you of your loved ones.
Stock photo of a teacher in her classroom - simple acts of kindness