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Updated: Nov 14, 2021

I don't think its ever too early to teach children empathy and good social values, infact reasearch shows that when your little one reaches the 4 month mark they are already developing the ability to recognize emotion through facial expressions. By 6 months they are mimicking what they see their parents do. Teaching your children age appropriate emotional awareness by exploring feelings in the toddler years can help them empathize with others and build strong coping skills. Performing random acts of kindness and supporting the community can also build strong intrinsic values. Here are 10 acts of kindness that can help your child explore what it means to help others and help them enjoy supporting their community.

1. Encourage your kids to offer a service

Start with your friends, family and neighbors see if they may need a little extra help around the house. For older kids it may be useful to try getting them to offer to clean someones driveway of snow, weed a garden, wash someones car or any other chores you notice someone needs and 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 give back to the community.

2. Send a family member or friend card

This is a very simple and easy way of telling someone that you're thinking of them, and will 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.

3. Bake cookies with the littles, 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.

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.

9. Bring Something Special to a teacher

What a way to say thank you for all that you do is to think about showing your appreciation at school. Here are a few of our favorite gifts teachers LOVE!

- A Teacher Stamp like this one .

- A Customized Mug or Tumbler.

- Antibacterial hand gel in his or her favorite scent.

- Scented candle or essential oil gift set.

10. Hide special gifts in a Geo Cache

This is a fun way to give a helping hand, you just never know who you're helping out because its completely random... and a bit exciting if you're into the "treasure hunting" thing -you can decide to leave something of monetary value such as money or a gift card of some kind, maybe something that someone may need or find generally useful in a geo capsule. Or...maybe you could even take this idea a step further and create a hidden treasure hunt of your own and post it socially.

As a Bonus: The best lesson of all is to teach your kids what kindness means, how it helps people, how it intrinsically helps them and how fun it can be. Have a family brainstorm sesh and come up with as many ideas as possible, write them all down, and make a plan to do it all.

Hope you enjoyed this post, tell me what is something special you like to do to lend a helping hand?

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