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7 Random Acts of Kindness for Kids
7 Random Acts of Kindness for Kids
By Amy Morin, LCSW

Make kindness a habit in your family

It’s easy to get so caught up teaching your child how to write his letters and how to cut his food with a knife that you forget to teach your child to be kind. And some parents worry teaching kindness could actually cause a child to lose his edge in today’s competitive world.

But teaching kindness is valuable. Research says teaching kindness has a positive influence on a range of academic, health, and social outcomes for kids.

When kindness is taught in school, children experience increased self-esteem, increased motivation to learn, improved attendance, and decreased bullying and violence.

Studies also show kids who engage in random acts of kindness are more likely to be accepted by their peers. Their good deeds improve their well-being and help them develop positive perceptions of their world.

But, research also suggests children today are more self-absorbed and less empathetic than they were a decade ago. So don’t expect your child to learn kindness by observing his peers. Perform acts of kindness with your child to teach her how to be generous, compassionate, and giving.

Of course, your child’s acts of kindness may not be able to be all that ‘random’ since she’ll most likely need some assistance from you. But, teaching her to do nice things for other people now could be the key to helping her recognize opportunities to show kindness later in life.

Donate Items to People in Need

It’s nice to get kids involved in fundraising, but sometimes fundraisers are too abstract. They don’t fully grasp the concept of who they are raising money for or how the money is being used.

It’s better to get them directly involved in donating items. Here are a few ways you can encourage your child to donate items to people in need:

Plant a vegetable garden and assign regular duties to your child, such as watering the plants, pulling weeds, and harvesting the vegetables. Then, give the vegetables to other people.
Gather gently used toys and donate them to an orphanage, homeless shelter, or domestic violence shelter. Encourage your child to pick out which toys she no longer needs. Talk to your child about where the toys are going and let him pick out which toys he’s willing to donate.
Help your child identify clothes that he can donate to other children. Give him some say over which items he wants to donate.
Make a meal and deliver it to an elderly neighbor, a relative, or a friend.
Donate gently used books to the library or a charity.

Write Thank-You Notes

Thank-you notes don’t have to involve forcing your kids to write letters to everyone after they've received gifts. Instead, teach your child there are always people you can thank outside of holidays.

Point out all the people who work behind the scenes to make life better and encourage your child to thank them. Here are a few ways to thank people:
Help your child write thank-you notes to people he appreciates. He can draw pictures for Grandma.
Create special notes for other people who assist your family—such as the mail carrier, the person who cuts your child’s hair, or a doctor.
Write letters to thank the police officers or fire fighters in your community for the work that they do.
Do Chores for Someone

Provide acts of service for people who may need a helping hand. When you make it a regular habit to do so, your child will learn to recognize people in need and opportunities when he can pitch in. Here are some ways you can perform chores for others with your child:

Regularly donate time to help Grandma and Grandpa around the house.
Encourage your child to surprise a sibling by doing one of her chores for her.

To be continued.......

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