I think we can all agree that the best way to make the world a better place is to encourage and create a culture of kindness. This kindness should begin in our homes with our children and grandchildren. Showing kindness is rewarding, and it has other benefits as well.
In her book titled Teaching Kids to be Kind, Rachel Tomlinson, Registered Psychologist and author states "Kind children experience a better sense of self-esteem because they see the positive impact of their behaviours and actions towards others." and she goes on to say "Children also experience more fulfilling and healthy relationships with those around them because they are socially aware and can empathise with others." You can read more of her top tips to teaching kindness in this article by First Five Years.
So, how do we help to encourage kindness? Here are 5 easy and excellent ways to begin:
1. Read books with messages about kindness and friendship. Books that will teach, model, praise kindness and treat others with respect and fairness. Reading with our grandchildren has always been such a special time to me as we sit quietly and bond over a good book. Here are a few of my favorites that we often read together:
* How Full Is Your Bucket? For Kids – I’ve read so many great reviews and this book is on the top of my list to purchase!
2. Our use of language is a great place to begin teaching kindness to our grandchildren. Suggested phrases like:
· “That was a kind thing to do.”
· “Would you be kind enough to help your sister pick-up the books in the family room?”
· “Thank you for your kindness.”
· “Can you use kinder words to say that?”
3. Being helpful is one of the most important ways of being kind and can be taught at the early age of two years old. Kids of all ages can participate in household chores. Here is a free printable behavior chart with age appropriate chores you may want to print. Play dates with Mimi are usually followed by asking the kiddos to help clean up and of course singing a fun clean up song as we do so.
4. Volunteering together! We can share our time, resources or abilities. By knowing what some of your child/grandchild’s interests are or a passion they have, we can encourage charitable behavior. If they love animals, they could donate to an animal shelter. Or if they love nature, they may want to collect trash at a local park. We started a new family tradition at Christmas with our grandsons. They donate their gently used toys that they've outgrown to a local children's center using this adorable Santa sack I found on Etsy. And in an article from Harvard Health Publishing, titled The heart and science of kindness, it states that we feel happier when we act in service to others. I couldn't agree more and want to continue encouraging this behavior with our grandchildren.
5. Random Act of Kindness! I’ve linked a couple of websites you can visit for a lot of great ideas including a download for some really cute Kindness Bookmarks! Here is a link to a website that has over 200 ideas for Acts of Kindness and Parents.com has a list of ideas you can use to prepare for Random Acts of Kindness Day 2021 which falls on Wednesday February 17. In the Parents.com article, I especially love ideas five and six and can't wait to introduce both ideas to our six, three and two year old grandsons! Our acts of kindness may inspire others to be kind and can bring hope to someone who may be feeling hopeless.
If you have a moment, listen to this new song called #Undivided by Tim McGraw and Tyler Hubbard. Their song has a timely message that promotes unity and also addresses the social unrest in our nation. I love the message in it, and hope it resonates with you as well.
I'm tired of lookin' left or right
So I'm just lookin' up.
"Love is patient, love is kind..." 1 Corinthians 13:4a.