Being kind means taking the time to put others’ feelings and needs ahead of your own. “Kind” is a small word, but it can have a big impact on your family. Ideally, we would treat our children and our spouse better than we treat everyone else; but sadly, we are often kind to strangers and then easily irritated, rushed and short with the people we love most. The small kindnesses in life, like a listening ear, a joyful smile, a gentle hug or a short note in a lunch box or briefcase, are often what makes those around us feel loved in the biggest way. Make your family feel loved and appreciated by showing them kindness using the ideas below.
Help Your Family Develop Kindness
Family Tradition. Moms and especially dads, this is a call to action! If you make your child feel loved and very special at home, this will ease anxiety about who will or will not be their Valentine at school. Buy your child candy or flowers. Take him out on a fancy date or go all out during family dinner with candlelight and red decorations. During dinner, take turns filling in this silly poem with kind words: “Roses are red, violets are blue, you are _______, and I love you.”
Game. Melt Them with Kindness: In this variation of freeze tag, you “unfreeze” your friends by showing kindness to them. For example, give a hug or say “I am glad we are friends.” If younger kids have trouble thinking up nice things to say, give them several candy conversation hearts with kind words on them to give to the frozen players. Make sure you talk about how kindness has the power to melt away problems in a relationship that may be facing a little cold patch or someone with a hard heart.
Activity. Brighten Your Day bags: Let your children decorate and pack goody bags to give to friends, family or even a stranger in need of a lift. You could include pre-packaged snacks, drinks, a safe toy from a dollar store, an encouraging note or a gift card for ice cream or coffee.
Object Lesson. Spoonful of Sugar: Sprinkle pepper in a bowl of water. Dip in a bar of soap and watch the pepper scatter (just as unkind actions repel others). Add sugar and watch it attract the pepper (like kind actions attract others). Discuss why or if these examples are true. (Courtesy of 10-Minute Life Lessons by Jamie Miller)
“I will” statements. Encourage kindness in your home by committing to the following statements. Say these “I will” statements aloud with your children, and encourage them to apply them to situations in their everyday life.
- put others before myself
- lovingly encourage and comfort others
- give help to those in need
- listen attentively to others
- show that I care about others through my words and actions
Sarah Holmes lives in Norman and is the founder of Wildflowers Character Resources. Find more at www.growingcharacter.com.