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Teaching Kids About Kindness

Small Gestures That Make Others Smile

Article by Kimberly Blaker

Photography by Community Kindness Movement + Provided

Originally published in Boise Lifestyle

With our busy lives, it's easy to lose sight of the little things we can do to make the world a kinder, gentler place. As a result, kids miss out on golden opportunities to emulate kindness and experience its rewards. So, why not set a goal with your kids, and see how many acts of kindness your family can rack up in a single day or week? Here are some ideas to get your kids started. 

Call grandparents or great-grandparents. This is a big one because often, grandparents are the ones to initiate calls. So, make your grandparents' day by giving them a call.

Visit an elderly neighbor. Many seniors are shut in because they can no longer drive. Often, even those who do drive don't get the social interaction they need. Likely, someone in your neighborhood could use some company. 

Offer a compliment. It doesn't get any easier than this. But don't offer praise you don't mean. Otherwise, it'll come off as disingenuous. Notice what someone is wearing or doing, or think about the person's personality or something they've done. Then offer a compliment that you really mean. 

Make a donation. It can be a small monetary donation to a good cause. Or you can donate items you no longer need to a homeless shelter, animal rescue, or toys for tots collection. 

Help someone with their homework. Do you know a classmate who struggles in a particular subject? Offer to help them study for a test or to understand a concept for a homework assignment. 

Take an extra lunch to school for someone who forgets. When you get to school, ask your teacher to help you find a student who needs it.

Stand up for someone. Do you know a student who's bullied or always left out? Look for an opportunity to tell those who are being judgmental to be a little kinder or that they're being unfair. 

Offer your support. Do you know someone going through a hard time, such as a serious illness or whose parents are going through a divorce? Lend them your shoulder, and offer to listen. 

Make friends with someone who's left out. Is there a classmate who's always standing alone on the playground or who sits alone at lunch? Offer to join that person.

Offer to help out a mom. Do you know someone with young children? Offer to spend a couple of hours watching and entertaining them while the mom catches up on chores. 

Bake cookies for your teacher or boss. Show your appreciation by baking their favorite goodies. 

Buy a homeless person a meal. If you see someone wandering who clearly looks homeless or is standing on a street corner with a sign, pick up a meal and take it over to them. 

Hold the door for someone. This is another super easy gesture that's sure to be appreciated by someone who's elderly, disabled, or really anyone. 

Write an apology to someone you've hurt. We've all said and done things on occasion that hurt someone's feelings. So, take ownership of it, and write a heartfelt apology.

Help someone carry something. When you see someone struggling to carry multiple items or something heavy, offer your assistance. 

Leave a nice note where someone will find it, or post something nice on the social media page of someone who needs a friend. Do you know someone who no one ever pays attention to? Make that person's day with a positive comment.

Take a neighbors dog for a walk. Is there a dog in your neighborhood that never gets to go for walks? Be sure to ask about the dog's energy level, so you're able to handle it. Also, be sure you don't over exercise the dog, which can be dangerous to their health. 

Do a chore for your brother or sister—what a great way to get back in your sibling's good graces. And although you shouldn't expect it, who knows, maybe they'll return the favor sometime. 

Buy a friend a candy bar. This is a simple way to show your friend you're thinking of them.

Volunteer for a good cause. There are many opportunities right in your community. You could volunteer at a soup kitchen, pick up trash at a park, or help with a canned food drive.

Help someone with yard work. Do you know a handicapped or elderly person? Offer to mow, rake, pull weeds, or shovel their snow. 

In 2015 a Pocatello family founded the Community Kindness Movement. It evolved from their child dealing with bullying and how their family chose to perform acts of kindness, hoping that it would encourage a change of heart. Their family sent twenty-six single yellow roses into the school to several students and teachers anonymously. The bullying diminished.  The CKM is all about joining a movement and inspiring world changers. The non-profit collaborates with government, school districts, local businesses, faith groups, youth groups, and like-minded individuals to come together to celebrate and inspire kindness throughout our communities.  In 2018-19 they partnered with Meridian, proclaiming Meridian Idaho’s Community Kindness Week.  Later in 2019 the first Idaho Community Kindness Week was proclaimed. Join the movement by implementing their Kindness Program in your community with Kindness Ambassadors, and providing Kindness Clubs for schools.  The annual program is designed to increase awareness that kindness is the powerful answer.  

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Set a goal and see how many acts of kindness your family can rack up

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