Being Kind & Giving Starts At Home
As parents, we have a responsibility to teach our kids that being kind & giving starts at home. Our kids are hard wired to give, they are born with the kindness gene, we just need to make it a habit through repetition. This week is Be Kind To Humankind Week, so a reminder to build a giving and kindness habit at home is perfect for this week!
Be Kind To Humankind week was started by a woman in New Jersey, a woman who lost friends as others were not kind. She has made it her mission to show others the importance of being kind to all humans. It just may save a life! Be Kind To Humankind week emphasizes simple acts of kindness through giving to others in our community in simple, easy ways. This is not about large donations, it is not about heroic actions, it is about simple, easy, acts of kindness that spreads, happiness, compassion, and empathy. Sound familiar? This is very similar to the 365give mission that has been teaching people to give to others in kind, compassionate ways that make our world a better place.
What is Kindness?
Kindness is simple. Kindness is us being friendly, generous, and considerate. Affection, gentleness, warmth, concern, and care are some of the emotions that are associated with kindness. Our giving actions are just as simple. Smiling at others, lending a hand to a stranger, a neighbour and our own family. It is thinking about others outside of our chores at home. We all have chores, our kids have chores, but what if your young one asks if they can help with cooking dinner, or take out the garbage, or help their sister or brother clean their room. That is a small act of giving that is not an obligation, it is a kind act that comes from the heart.
Kindness and understanding kindness shapes our children as citizens. If they are taught kindness as a habit at a young age, they will continue to be kind as children, teens and adults. Though we are hardwired for kindness and giving, we are born compassionate, empathetic people, we need to use that giving muscle to maintain it. Like any habit, if we keep doing it, it becomes part of our being. If we forget to exercise our giving muscles, they go soft and we don’t use it when we should, or could.
Why Giving Is Important To Teaching Kindness
Giving is the vehicle that our children can express their kindness. Giving is the habit that forms our children’s kindness.
Abuse is a learned behaviour. It is what our children have witnessed in their younger years and it becomes their vehicle to navigate through life. Racism is a learned behaviour and becomes a vehicle to navigate through life. Unkind behaviour is learned and will be what our children use to make their way through society. It is up to us as parents, grandparents, sisters, brothers, uncle and aunts, or just a good family friend to show how kindness and giving works. Our actions and teachings will set the tone for our children as they learn to navigate the world. If we want a better world, we need to teach kind, giving actions that set better outcomes for our children as they grown and learn. Kindness and understanding compassion, empathy and positive participation in our societies is what shapes a better mental health outcome for our kids.
When our kids give, they feel happier. They receive more joy from their experiences and how they interact with others. They will be an example for others who perhaps did not have a parent that took the time to teach kindness through giving. They will have an important set of leadership skills that will help shape their friendships, their choices and how they safely become members of our communities. This is the best foundation we can provide them. A happier child is more productive in school, has more friends, can communicate how they feel. All of this produces the leaders we need in the world to build a happier, healthier world.
Easy Giving Ideas That We Can Do at Home And Close To Home
So lets start at home! Lets start a giving practice at home that is easy for everyone to participate in, takes just a few minutes, and builds the foundation our kids need. Remember kindness is not just for people, kindness can include gives for our planet and animals.
- Plant bee and butterfly friendly plants in the garden, on the window sill, or in a local community garden. This is both a planet and animal give!
- Share a meal with a neighbour, a grandparent, a stranger living on the street. This people give shows the importance of kindness to others.
- Create sidewalk art with chalk that spreads kind words and phrases. Spread happiness throughout the neighbourhood.
- Go for a walk and pick up garbage around your neighbourhood. One small bag will do it! And helps the planet.
- Put a gratitude poster in your window! Create a large poster you can put in your window for all to see that shares what you are grateful for.
- Have a book swap with other kids in your neighbourhood.
These are just a few suggestions that you can do at home to build your children’s giving muscle. We have hundreds of giving ideas for you to use. You can either join our 365give Challenge and start giving everyday, join our Happiness Headquarters where you have daily giving ideas delivered to you daily, or read through our blog posts that our volunteers have curated for you!