Kindness is the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. Kindness makes people feel good and helps develop friendships. In a recent study, kids who did kind things for others had more friends. Social and relationships skills, such as kindness, can be developed. One way to practice this skill is through random acts of kindness.
Random Act of Kindness – doing something nice for a person when it is not expected.
Social skills are the skills needed to get along with other people.
What we know:
Nine to eleven year-olds who practiced kindness had bigger circles of friends because they didn’t see some classmates as different or as outsiders. Practicing random acts of kindness helps children be more thoughtful friends.
Help your child think of age-appropriate “random acts of kindness” they can do with you or alone. Start with nice things to do at home or in the neighborhood, like:
- clean the dishes without being asked,
- put a note that says something nice under a parent’s pillow, or
- shovel a neighbor’s sidewalk or mow their lawn.
Then help your child think about people at school they could do something nice for, such as:
- classmates who have only a few friends,
- school cooks,
- custodians, or
- bus drivers.
Randomactsofkindness.org has a collection of kindness ideas. Help your child think of different kindnesses for different people. For example, one day your child could let someone go ahead of him in the lunch line, the next day your child could sit with a child who eats lunch alone, and another day your child could make a thank you card for the school cooks.
Try this too:
Watch the video Kindness Boomerang – “One Day” with your child. Count each time someone is helpful. Ask them to watch what happens to the first helper at the end of the video. That is the “boomerang” effect when something is returned to you. In the video, you can see the kindness returned to the first person who helped — like a boomerang.
Watch this remake of the same video by third graders.
Print this as a 1-page handout (Humankind. Be Both., PDF).