Photo: Cara Zelas

The most organic way to be kind is to start with small acts of kindness in your home. Encouraging kindness is an important skill that is foundational to a child’s development. Kindness is innate within us all however it is also a skill that can be taught and nurtured and the best place to begin cultivating this, is at home.

The easiest way for children to learn to be kind is when you as a caregiver, model kind behaviors. Children learn by what they see and hear, which is a reminder that our children are always passively watching and gaining an understanding of how we communicate and interact, from the closest people around them. 

Try one of these engaging and hands-on activities to promote kindness in your home. 

1. Kindness Begins with You

Being kind to yourself is the first step in being kind to others. Positive self-talk is a powerful tool to assist with increased self-confidence, motivation and improve your outlook. For examples of positive self-talk, check out: Yes I Can: A Guide to Courage from the Big World of Little Dude —a book series that promotes social and emotional learning.

2. Create a Kindness Jar

A kindness jar is a fantastic way to promote kindness. By acknowledging kind acts, it helps with positive reinforcement and is a great visual to see the kindness jar become full—full of kindness. 

3. Create an Empathy Teddy Hospital 

Being kind to others begins with empathy. Empathy is a difficult concept to grasp for children. A concrete way to teach empathy is through dramatic or pretend play. Every child has been to the doctor and it can bring up feelings of stress or anxiety, so they can relate to the poor little teddy bears that are feeling unwell and are now in the teddy hospital.

4. Bake Kindness Cookies

Baking can be a fun way to show children how to follow a recipe, how to work together, and then have a gift they can thoughtfully give away. Being kind to others is both beneficial for the giver and receiver and putting hard work into making delicious treats, like kindness cookies, to give away will certainly sweeten the lucky recipient’s day! 

5. Donate & Recycle

Recycle a box and put it to use! Go around your home, with your child, and asking them to select gently used items of toys, books, and clothing that they no longer need or use, and put them in the box. You could also decorate the box before donating it to a local charity, shelter, or a non-profit thrift store. 

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5 So-Simple Ways to Teach Your Kids Kindness On & Offline