How to Raise Kind Kids: 25 Simple and Profound Ways Parents Can Lead By Example
Updated December 2020
We all want our kids to be kind, caring, and compassionate individuals. But, by nature, kids are often blunt, direct, say exactly what’s on their minds, and act on their impulses without thinking of the consequences… behaviors that can result in unkind treatment of others.
Many parents think they’re already teaching kindness to their children and this isn’t an area for concern. However, a Harvard study found that parents’ messages about kindness are often drowned out by “the power and frequency” of daily messages about achievement and happiness.
In fact, 81% of kids in this study said their parents and peers are way more concerned about their grades, athletic achievements, and personal happiness than they are about kindness.
That’s why we’re sharing this fast, fun, and proven way to teach kindness.
What’s The Most Effective Way To Teach Kindness?
There are a lot of ways to teach kindness but perhaps the most effective way for parents is to lead by example. Your children observe you, whether it feels like it or not, they are watching. They notice when you hold the door for someone and they notice when you talk negatively about someone. So take a minute and think about how you are modeling kindness.
Kindness is contagious… so quick, pick a number 1-25.
Now it's time to #strikeyourstrongselfie! Scroll down to the number you picked and start modeling how to spread kindness to others.
Leading By Example: 25 Simple & Profound Ways You Can Teach Kindness
- Compliment the first 3 people you see today.
- Mail a card to someone to let them know how special they are.
- Bring your neighbors’ garbage cans back up to their house.
- Return shopping carts at the grocery store for other people.
- Pick up trash at the local park, playground, or beach.
- Send a thank you note to the officers at the local police or fire station.
- Pay it back: Buy the coffee for the person in line behind you.
- Drop off cat or dog food to an animal shelter.
- Email or write to a person who has made a positive impact in your life (teacher, coach, friends).
- Bring your child breakfast in bed.
- Visit a nursing home and play a board game with a senior citizen.
- Fill an empty STRONG self(ie) box with hats, gloves & toiletries and give it to a homeless person or shelter.
- Let someone go in front of you in line.
- Donate arts and crafts supplies to your child’s teacher or school.
- Leave a nice note inside a book at your library.
- In Winter, give a hot coffee or in Summer, give a cold Gatorade to your mail carrier, security guard, trash collector or crossing guard.
- Write a nice note on the receipt for the waiter or waitress to read.
- Put quarters in the vending machine or candy machines at the grocery store.
- Cheer up a friend by giving them a STRONG self(ie) Kindness Card.
- Leave a $1 bill hidden in the shelves at the Dollar Store.
- Give a balloon or coloring book to children in the hospital.
- Leave 100 pennies, heads up, on the ground.
- Give someone waiting behind you in line a gift card.
- Ask someone in line "How is your day going?".
- Offer to run an errand for someone having a busy or hard week.
When you make a habit of modeling kindness… and make a fun game of it… your kids will naturally WANT to join in on the fun! Pretty soon… practicing random acts of kindness becomes as essential to your lives as breathing!
More Resources to Help You Raise Kind Kids
Through this website, the Harvard Graduate School of Education provides information and resources to help parents and educators raise kids who care about others and create a more caring and just world.
Through the Greater Good Science Center website, the University of Berkeley offers science-based insights and resources for parents and educators to promote well-being and teach skills that bridge differences and foster a thriving, resilient, and compassionate society.