Teaching Kids About Kindness: Small Gestures to Put Smiles on People’s Faces

Amid our busy lives, it can be easy to lose sight of the little things we can do to make the world a gentler, kinder place for others. As a result, our children miss out on golden opportunities to emulate such kindnesses. The holiday season is the perfect time to get started teaching kindness. So why not set a goal with your kids and see how many acts of kindness your family can rack up this month? Here are some ideas to get started.

Call your grandparents or great-grandparents. This is a big one because often, grandparents are the ones to initiate calls. Make a grandparent’s day by making the call.

Visit an elderly neighbor. Many older people are shut in because they can no longer drive. Even those who do drive often don’t get all the social interaction they need. There’s likely someone in your neighborhood who could use some company.

Offer a compliment. It couldn’t get any easier than this. But don’t offer a praise you don’t mean because it’ll come off as disingenuous. Think about what you like about what the person is wearing, their personality, or something they’ve done.

Make a donation. This could be a small monetary donation to a good cause, or you could 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 with a 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 has forgotten theirs. Then 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 they should be a little nicer or that they’re being unfair.

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

Make friends with someone who seems 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 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 cookies or brownies.

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 deliver it to them.

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

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

Help someone carry something. When you see someone trying to juggle multiple things or carry a heavy object, offer your assistance.

Post something nice on the social media page of someone who needs a friend. Do you have a social media friend who no one ever pays attention to? Make that person’s day with a positive comment on their page.

Take a neighbor’s dog for a walk. Is there a dog in your neighborhood that never gets to go for walks? Just make sure you find out the dog’s energy level to make sure you’re able to handle it or to ensure you don’t over-exercise the dog.

Do a chore for your brother or sister. What a great way to get back in your brother or sister’s good graces. (And who knows, maybe some time they’ll return the favor.)

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 their yard work. Do you know someone who’s handicapped or elderly? Offer to mow, rake, pull weeds, or shovel snow. 

Kimberly Blaker
About Kimberly Blaker

Kimberly Blaker is the mother of two and a grandmother. She remembers the challenge of trying to maintain romance in her marriage while raising kids – weekend getaways did wonders for her marriage and family life.

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