Kids are born loving and kind, and parents like us need to help them nurture and grow their compassion. That sounds like a big job but it’s actually super simple! An act of kindness elicits gratitude—and gratitude is good for you. According to all sorts of social science research, gratitude is associated with increased happiness, well-being, better relationships and even improved health.
The Science of Kindness reports that when you perform an act of kindness, you trigger a release of oxytocin, the love hormone, which aids in lowering blood pressure and improving our heart health. Oxytocin also increases our self-esteem and optimism, which is extra helpful in times like these.
That’s not all random acts of kindness do for you! They can increase our energy and improve mood, by stimulating the production of serotonin, the same way a medical antidepressant can. When you are kind to another person, your brain’s pleasure and reward centres light up with what is called a “helper’s high”.
Give your children these beautiful feelings by spreading some smiles and joy through easy random acts of kindness like these ones.
30 Easy acts of kindness for kids PRINTABLES
Amber's tips for raising kind kids
I am no parenting expert, but I try to work daily on making sure my kids are compassionate and kind. It’s not easy to foster in the times of TikTok, iPads and virtual school, but I try. Here are a few ways I encourage my kids to grow up kinder.
Donate – when we donate to the food bank, I get the kids to shop our cupboards for what we can part with. I also get them to read the list of what is needed, and we add that to our grocery order. They need to see that lunch snacks and baby food are a luxury to some. When we make a financial donation, we ask the kids to help us choose where the money should go.
Volunteer – my almost 13-year-old and I deliver food weekly to folks who need it. We do it so she knows what giving her time and kindness can do for others. We also love any opportunity to clean up a green space or connect with seniors in our community. The appreciation that organizers show to volunteers is unmatched and encourages more volunteering.
Encourage Empathy – I have strong views on certain topics, but instead of pushing those views on my kids, I ask them open-ended questions to spark deeper thinking. “I wonder why the food bank needs formula?” Then I show them the price of formula and diapers and we do a quick calculation to see how long someone would have to work to afford those two items. They realize that not everyone can afford what they have, and they not only learn to relate to others but to appreciate their blessings.
Use This List – These ideas for acts of kindness for kids were brainstormed by our whole family! It was a great learning exercise to see if we can still perform acts of kindness during a pandemic and lockdown. Guess what? We can! And we need kindness now more than ever.