Becky Goddard-Hill, who blogs at A Beautiful Space and Baby Budgeting, is the co-author of Create Your Own Happy, a happiness boosting book for kids. Create Your Own Happy is full of activities and is a fun, interactive book. It was published in September 2018 by Harper Collins and is available from Amazon and all good bookshops. A good two thirds of book is dedicated to teaching kids how to make other people happier and the world a happier place.
In this guest post she considers kindness.
‘No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted’ Aesop (Greek fabulist and storyteller)
We all know kindness is tremendously important, it makes other people feel so much happier, and it makes us feel better too when we are kind or when we receive it.
Kindness is a treasure.
It is something I believe every parent wants their children to be.
One of the very best ways to teach children to be kind is to look out for it, notice it and comment it. Do this when you see it on the news or when you see it in the paper, mention it when you spot it in other people and, most loudly of course, mention it when you see it in your child.
Praise your children for kindness more than you would if they aced a test or came first on sports day, for after all, it truly is the most important thing in the world.
Model kindness to your children too. Let them see you put kindness into action, let them hear you speak words of kindness and compassion. Let your kindness be on full display.
Random acts of kindness
Random acts of kindness are a fun way to bring kindness to the world and a lovely idea to present to your kids. A random act of kindness is basically an act of kindness for no particular reason or reward. You can do these for people you do or don’t know.
Here are some suggestions for random acts of kindness kid’s could undertake
- Take flowers from their garden (or the shop!) to a local, older persons care home
- Donate their pocket money to a charity
- Feed the birds
- Tell someone a joke
- Say something lovely to their teacher
- Ask a grown up if they can do some chores for them
- Leave a book on a park bench with a note inside saying ‘Enjoy this book and once finished pls place it back on this bench’
- Make their grown-up breakfast in bed
- Put enough money in a vending machine so the next person gets a freebie
- Put together a little photo album for a relative
- Smile and say good morning to someone new
- Litter pick for 15 minutes in their local park
- Read a story to someone
- Offer to make everyone tea
- Start a collection for a local food bank at school or on their street
- Make a bookmark and leave it in a library book
- Run a second hand stall and donate the money to charity
- Ask someone new if they want to play
Encourage them to come up with their own ideas and try putting these into action. Be sure to make time to reflect with them on how they feel after. I am sure they will soon realise that being kind to someone else makes them feel JUST AS GOOD as it were being done to them.
The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation has discovered that carrying out random kind acts will:
- Reduce depression: Thinking about helping other people stops us worrying about ourselves.
- Reduce pain: Helping releases endorphins, which are natural painkillers.
- Reduce isolation: Helping others encourages human contact.
- Reduce blood pressure.
- Reduce anxiety: Good actions can lift mood and decrease social avoidance.
- Reduce stress: Kind people have 23 percent less cortisol (the stress hormone) and age more
Wow, it’s SO good for you to make other people happy – and such an important thing to teach our kids.
Thanks so much to Becky for sharing such wonderful ideas for helping children learn about kindness. One of the things I love most about raising Little Man is when he will thank us for doing something, because it was kind. For instance, the other night as we got ready for bed he said to me, “you’re the best mother I could have chosen,” and I replied with, “thank you, that’s so kind!” The following morning, I repeated his words back to him, telling him that he was the best son I could have wished for, and he replied with, “that’s so kind!”
He understands the importance of kindness in our lives, and it fills my heart with joy that of all things this is what he has grasped the easiest. He has Autism, and so a lot of social conventions seem quite confusing to him, but for some reason kindness seems to be something he has inherently picked up. And it makes every other challenging situation so much easier.
In a world that is increasingly full of anger and strife, it is more important than ever that we teach our children the importance of kindness. And I do hope that you’ve found this guest post by Becky helpful and inspiring. Create Your Own Happy is a wonderful book – we bought a copy for Little Man for Christmas, and it is gorgeous. Do go and check it out and grab a copy for your family.