By Betsy Voreacos
Kids are inherently kind creatures. But sometimes they need a little nudge, and a little role modeling, to know exactly how to show compassion and caring. These random acts of kindness are relatively simple, but the impact on both the giver and recipient will last a long, long time.
Say Yes to Younger Siblings
There’s nothing that will make little siblings feel better than being invited to share time with an older brother or sister – especially if they don’t think it’s been ordered by Mom or Dad. Encourage your older kids to let the younger ones into their world, even if just for a little while!
Share a Special Treat
It’s easy enough to share a healthy snack, but kids aren’t as eager to part with precious sweets like candy or cookies – and who can blame them? The next time your child has a shareable treat, challenge him to share some with a friend, a sibling, or you! (Of course, this may be one you want to model first, and then remind your child of that kindness when it’s his turn to share.)
Visit an Elderly Neighbor
There’s bound to be a senior you know who would love to spend an hour with your adorable child. Give Gladys across the street a call and ask if she would mind if you and your daughter came over to entertain her one afternoon.
Cuddle With Puppies and Kittens
Many animal shelters will accept help from older kids, with parental consent. Just explain to your kids that the true kindness in this gesture is in them NOT begging for a puppy of their own!
Bake Up Some Love
Everyone loves a homemade muffin or cookie, especially when it’s baked and delivered by a little one (with Mom or Dad’s help, of course). Wrap a few together in plastic wrap, tie with a ribbon, attach the recipe, and take them to your neighbors. Just because.
Be a Snow Angel
Next time it snows, go with your kids, shovels in hand, to dig out a neighbor who needs help.
Write a Letter
There’s something about getting an old-fashioned letter that just feels so special. Encourage your kids to write to a distant relative or far-off friend, or inquire at local nursing homes or children’s hospitals about established pen pal programs. They’ll probably get a correspondence going and might even make a friend!
How do you teach your kids the value of random acts of kindness?
Betsy lives with her family a stone’s throw from New York City. An overly involved mother of three children, Betsy has always been acutely aware of her shortcomings as a parent, not to mention those of her children. She documents her life in the brutally honest Old Minivans Die Hard.
Image ©iStock.com/Pamela Moore