To show kindness is such a simple thing: Be compassionate and nice to others. As a mother of three young children, I am always preaching to my kids to be kind first and foremost, no matter the situation. I often feel like a broken record. “Be kind!” I scream when I hear my kids being rude and curt to each other over some sibling squabble.
We always have a choice with how we respond and treat others. It is not always easy to get my kids to pick the kind choice, versus the frustrated choice that tempts them when they lose their tempers. I often say, “If we can’t find peace in our home, how are we going to have it in the world?”
I also realize that while I work to teach them to be kind to other people, as well as animals, many of us have an easier time being kind to others than ourselves. I believe if we can teach our kids to take care of their bodies and treat themselves nicely, they will be better equipped to be kind to others in return.
There are so many ways to be kind on a daily basis.
- Open the door for someone.
- Tell someone when they do a good job.
- Smile as you pass someone on the street.
- Say “Good morning” to a stranger.
- Do a favor for someone without being asked.
I really could go on and on! As we enter the month of November, the month of gratitude, let’s also remember to be kind. Below is a list of five ways to foster kindness with your children in your home.
1. Play the kindness game.
See how many ways your family can be kind. Make a list for each family member and have each of them write down their kind acts daily as they do them. The person with the most on their list at the end of the week wins a prize.
2. Make a list of kindness rules.
On a large piece of paper or poster board, brainstorm a list of family kindness rules. Have fun decorating it and then display it in a central place in your home so you can refer to it often.
Try these sample rules to get you started:
- Don’t speak over each other.
- Say “I am sorry” when you hurt someone’s feelings.
- Say “Thank you” when someone does something for you.
3. Make a kindness checklist.
Help your kids make a daily checklist with a variety of ways to be kind to themselves. Use smiley face stickers to “check off” each of the things on the list each day. While you are at it, make one for yourself.
Some sample items could include:
- Get 8 hours of sleep.
- Eat a greater quantity of healthy food than not-so-healthy food.
- Give myself a high-five for something I did well today.
4. Create a kindness mantra.
It pains me when I hear one of my kids say “I am so stupid” when they can’t figure out a homework problem or “I am so bad at this” when they can’t master a skill. Words have the power to change us for better or worse. Help your child to learn to speak kindly to themselves with a positive affirmation using the words, “I can” or “I will keep trying to.”
5. Take the kindness pledge.
Have each of your family members choose one small thing they pledge to do this week to be kinder to themselves, others, and/or animals. Then, commit to doing that for the week or longer!
For the month of November, I am giving away a free signed and personalized Kindness Pledge with every purchase of my picture book, NOT A NUGGET. A portion of all the November proceeds will be donated to Farm Sanctuary’s Adopt A Turkey Project. For 30 years, Farm Sanctuary has been saving turkeys from being slaughtered for Thanksgiving dinner by sponsoring rescue turkeys at their various sanctuaries. You can learn more about this compassionate program and adopt a turkey here. To purchase NOT A NUGGET and get your personalized Kindness Pledge, visit here for the details.
For more family-friendly projects and recipes from Stephanie Dreyer, subscribe to the VeegMama newsletter here.