It's cool to be kind.
We surround ourselves, and our children, with messages about spreading kindness every single day! We’ve all heard the phrases: treat others the way you want to be treated, be nicer to your sibling, if you don’t have something nice to say don’t say anything at all, etc.
While all of these sayings fall under good advice for your littles, there can be a big gap between what we say and what our kids actually hear. After all, those first few years of life are literally all about them!
So how do we encourage our littles to feel empathy and spread kindness in the world around them? Here’s are 10 quarantine-friendly activities to teach your child kindness this week:
1. Kindness BINGO (game, age 3+)
Color a square if you shared with someone this week! Color a square if you made a gift for someone else. Color a square if you did a chore without asking… and so many more! Customize this game to what fits your family and lifestyle best, with a bingo prize of your choice.
2. Send a "hug" (art project, age 3+)
Missing your extended family during these socially distant times? Create an instant hug to send to someone you love! Simply trace and cut the outlines of your little’s hand to let them color and decorate. Send with a note to a family member or friend who's in need of some love from your littles (and help support USPS in the process :)
3. Thank you’s (writing, age 3+ with help)
The easiest way to get your kids thinking about others is by asking them to write a thank you note. Encourage them to make one for whoever they want! It could be for their best friend, their teacher, or even their mom and dad. Remind your child how many other people help positively impact their life!
4. Act tracker (game, age 3+)
Did you let your little sister pick the TV show tonight? Coin! Did you help mom take out the trash? Coin! Create a tracking game that allows your kiddos to gain points by completing random acts of kindness- whether its contributing more with house chores, or bigger-picture acts like making care packets for the homeless, your littles will get in the habit of recognizing what makes an act of kindness.
5. Salty switch (communication, age 3+)
Every time your little starts to complain this week about something that’s going wrong, ask them to find one thing in the room they're grateful for before continuing. Not only will this throw them off the tantrum-track, but over time it can help your children learn perspective when they begin to feel upset. Remind them that their feelings are always valid, and that their moments of upset are also opportunities to feel grateful for the things that are going right.
6. Video for grandparents (project, any ages)
There are some very important family members who miss seeing your littles grow! Whether it’s for their grandparents, aunts and uncles, or even that favorite family friend, help your kids make a greeting video to send some positivity their way. Encourage them to think of at least one reason they’re grateful for that family member or friend, and talk about it while recording the video. With an iPhone this whole process can take less than 10 minutes, and older relatives often report that these videos are some of the best messages they receive.
7. Make a food bank box (project, age 5+ with help)
If you’re uncomfortable making a trip all the way to your county food bank during these times, you can still spread kindness in your local community! Simply gather any non-perishables that can withstand heat (especially during the summer months), DIY a wooden food box, and leave an encouraging note on the outside for others to contribute. Tip: if you have any old cabinets or broken mini fridges that need throwing out, consider painting and using them for this project! Write or paint a phrase on the outside like: leave what you can, take what you need.
8. Write a letter to a soldier (writing, age 5+ with help)
We love supporting the men and women who serve our country! There are thousands of new recruits, wounded heroes, first responders and veterans who are in need of positivity and kindness through your words and letters. So many of those serving don’t have the support of their friends and family, and have no one who will write to them overseas. Some first responders just need some extra encouragement during these particularly challenging times! Use sites like Operation Gratitude to send your kiddo’s drawings and letters to those who have no one to write to.
9. Donate clothes (activity, age 3+)
With so many people unemployed and struggling during COVID-19, remind your children how much more meaningful some of their old clothes would be to a child in need. Encourage them to think about a kid just like them, and how they might need a little extra help if something happened to their health or housing. Foster child organizations and homeless child clothing drives are always in need of quality clothes, and most establishments have their own social distancing protocol!
10. Kindness cards (writing, art project, age 5+)
The USPS needs some help! As a small business who relies heavily on the services provided by our postmen and women, we love any activity that supports sending mail. Have your littles make a 'just for fun' drawing of their favorite animal on a folded 8.5 x 11 piece of paper, and find a quote about kindness you can help them write inside! Encourage your kiddos to think of someone who could use a little kindness right now, and surprise someone with a thoughtful note in the mail.