How were you kind today? How were you a good friend?
Recently, our family started asking these questions during our dinner table discussions. Besides kindness being one of the values that our family and our faith holds, it’s pretty clear that our world needs A LOT more kindness right now.
Since we ALL have to answer that question at the table (ah em), it’s kept me honest and accountable to model kindness for my kids. In the midst of my work-from-home-online-all-day job, it’s sometimes hard for me to come up with examples besides saying “thank you” to the mail lady. It’s nevertheless a muscle that I am trying to develop as I remind myself to treat my family with more kindness each day.
This exercise has also led to many conversations about what is and isn’t kind. It’s also led to discussions on feelings and what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes. Honestly, these are lessons that I wish we had taught our kids earlier. My oldest daughter’s second grade teacher explained that some kids are innately empathetic, but the majority of them need to be taught empathy. Pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Ravi Rao believes that we should teach empathy to children the way we teach numbers and colors.
Some other ideas I discovered:
-Encourage "Random Acts of Kindness" and challenge your family to do one per day or week.
-Give your child a stack of Post-It Notes to write compliments and pass out at school. Meanwhile, you leave Post-It Note compliments around your child's room.
-Role play. I got this idea from a friend who role plays scenarios with her daughter and it helps her girl to learn empathy.
-Read books about kindness together and discuss (see below). Point out examples of empathy and kindness.
-Engage in community service opportunities as a family.
Here are some resources that might help our girls be kinder to one another.
Chapter Books for Tweens that Teach Kindness:
View: We pinned lots of ideas for encouraging kindness. Check out our Pinterest board: Cultivating Kindness Pinterest board
What ideas do you have? Let us know below!