What is World Kindness Day
In the grand scheme of things we are all trying to raise responsible, kind adults. People who have compassion for their fellow human while also having a sense of responsibility for the earth they live on. World Kindness Day is a great way to start (or reinforce) these ideals in our children.
If you haven’t heard of it before, World Kindness Day is an international holiday that has helped to shape how we treat others for over 21 years. First introduced in 1988 as a day of observation by the World Kindness Movement, it is celebrated every year on November 13th. With the aim of this holiday being to spread kindness to as many people as possible throughout the world.
Thoughtful Ideas and Simple Ways to Spread Kindness
Now that we have a better understanding of what exactly World Kindness Day is, it’s time to talk about the many ways we can celebrate. World Kindness Day is meant to spread kindness to those around you through small gestures. With a focus on overcoming hate in the process. Now you may be thinking, “but we’re just parents trying to raise kind children, we don’t have that type of power. “ While we completely understand that sentiment, kindness is like wildfire. It can become so infectious that it engulfs everything it touches. Small little acts can turn into bigger ones that snowball into huge acts of change for our society and the world our children will grow up in. When we look at it that way, it's much easier to see how little acts of caring can make a big impact.
Let’s talk about how to celebrate, especially with our children. Whether it’s helping someone with chores, taking the time out to ask how someone is doing, or complimenting someone, there are several ways to incorporate kindness for this holiday, or even incorporate it daily. When considering how, it's important to remember that being kind does not have to be extravagant. Sometimes the simplest things make the most difference.
Whether at school, at a company meeting, or out running errands and helping a stranger, infusing kindness can not only make someone's day better, but ours as well. Here are a few ways to show kindness to others:
- Calling someone we know may be going through tough times
- Giving genuine compliments to other around us
- Smiling as we walk past others
- Cleaning up a mess without being asked
- Holding the door open for someone
- Paying it forward and purchasing a coffee for the person behind us in line
- Picking up trash we see outside
- Giving encouraging words to the cashier at the grocery store
- Helping someone who may be struggling to complete a task
- Buying a surprise gift just because
- Planting a tree
- Introducing ourselves to the new person at work or school
- Volunteering at a local shelter or charity
When thinking of ways to incorporate this with your children, think of it more in terms of a tradition. We all have our Christmas traditions, Halloween traditions and so on. World Kindness Day could be another day to start / continue a tradition with our families.
It could be the day we all make it a point to speak (or for our children to play) with someone we’ve never spoken to (or played with) before. Maybe we challenge our children to bring extra pencils and offer them to anyone who forgot theirs. Whatever creative ideas we come up with, remembering to emphasize the joy of giving is key.
Another great way to actively incorporate acts of kindness is by making a Family Kindness Chain. As a family sit down and come up with different acts of kindness to participate in. Thinking of things that can be done in and outside of school or work. Write each act of kindness on a piece of construction paper. As each family member performs an act of kindness the link can then be added to the chain. Make it a month-long tradition and see just how long your family kindness chain can get!
Seeing someone else happy can have a huge impact on ourselves and our own emotional well-being. Acts of kindness are a great way to teach this concept with real life experience. The more positivity we spread the more it will come back to us, via the joy we get from helping others or by someone else simply showing us an act of kindness.
Teaching Kindness to the Next Generation
The benefits of connecting with others through acts of kindness can truly be unmeasurable. Yet, like everything else in life, these are skills we must teach our children. They will not be some innate trait they pick up. On the contrary, similar to learning to walk, or mastering multiplication, compassion and kindness take practice. And as they continue to build this muscle, their work can bring our children great joy as well as some additional life skills. When children practice kindness it can help increase their confidence, improve their collaboration and social networking skills and provide them with a greater sense of community.
Teaching our children the value of kindness, civic engagement and volunteerism can start as young as three years old. In addition to some of the ideas listed above, activities like donating food or outgrown clothing to someone in need is a great way to help teach caring for others to our younger children.
In fact, research shows that teaching our children kindness helps children form connections that are positively associated with increased happiness, a positive self-worth, improved health with less stress, promotes gratitude, and over all better sleep, memory, learning, attention spans and a willingness to learn.
No matter what other values and morals we may be teaching our children, we can all agree that learning caring and kindness is impactful for everyone involved and World Kindness Day may just be the perfect holiday to get started!
Let us know in the comments how you plan to celebrate World Kindness Day this year.