Thursday, December 18, 2014

Teaching Kids About Being Self-Less: Acts of Kindness Ideas

Written by, Bernadyn Nettles

Welcome to another week of Mommy Cab Discussions!  Since it's the holiday season, I've been talking to my kids a lot about acts of kindness and what it means to be giving and self-less.  It is an important topic to discuss with children regularly but it works well during the holidays to teach them the true meaning of Christmas.  It is common for young children to see a world that revolves around them and where they constantly put themselves in the equation.  As parents, it is our jobs to teach them to remove themselves from the equation every now and then and to think about others. 

Random Acts of Kindness, Christmas Spirit, parenting

The True Spirit of Christmas

During a car ride this past week, I asked my son, "What do you think the true meaning of Christmas is?"  He replied, "It means to give to others what you don't need and to help homeless people."  He's a fast learner!  I hope to instill this value of being self-less to my children where they do it out of the kindness of their hearts and not because they are expected to do so.  He actually showed a wonderful example of this recently so keep reading to find out what it was!

This month, his teacher also requested for us parents to discuss the character trait of kindness with our kids.  An activity sheet was sent home that had ideas for the whole family to do together in order to talk about kindness.  It mainly points out the importance of being kind within your family and why each person is important.

Ideas for Acts of Kindess and Ways to Teach Our Kids About Being Self-less

I wrote out some suggestions for my own family to do to show acts of kindness to other people this holiday season.  There are also a few tips for ways to talk about kindness and being self-less that I'm passing on here for others who may want to use it, too.

 Activities you can do with your family to show Acts of Kindness:

  • Operation Christmas Child - National collection week is over but you can still create a virtual shoe box to give online.  I learned about this awhile ago when my old neighborhood participated.  I was reminded of it this week with Bekah's post that shares her volunteer experience with it.
  • Visit nursing homes - every year in high school, either I did it with organizations I was involved with or my sister and I would visit.  We donated goody bags or treats to them.  Call to see if they accept this first and to find out the treats or items that are not allowed.  You can even just go there to play games with them or read to them.
  • Give the gift of time and volunteer together as a family
  • Sing Christmas carols at someone's house as a surprise or record your child singing and send it to someone via email or social media
  • Give out gifts or treat bags to a children's hospital or a hospital if they allow it.  They usually like things like books, coloring/activity books and crayons.
  • Send holiday cards or care packages to someone in the military or a card to a military family thanking them for their sacrifice and all they do.
  •  Write a letter to someone you haven't seen in awhile like a long-distance relative.  This is good practice for my son since he has been learning how to put his own sentences together.
  • Send Christmas cards to friends and family
  • Send another child a letter from Santa saying they've made the official nice list (not for the kids to do) but something you can do, maybe for a niece or nephew.  I saw this idea from Sarah's post and thought it was such a sweet thing to do for a few kids we know, too!
  • A cool and inspiring way to give to the homeless is through Brittany's son's clever idea of donating to them by making a robot that you can then auction off to friends and family.  Whatever you receive through the auction would then be donated to Thomas' awesome idea.  He wanted to make his own website where robots are sold and the money is given to the homeless.  Isn't that a brilliant and  idea from a young child?  I think that is so inspiring and my kids are excited to participate in this - they've made their robots and we will be posting about it soon so be sure to check out Thomas' Facebook page - Robots for the Homeless and check back on my blog to see the robots my kids made.
  • Give out treat bags or little gifts to classmates
  • Visit a sick friend or send them a note and a gift
  • Buy or pick some flowers and make a bouquet, leave it at a friend, neighbor or relative's door step with a sweet note
  • Remember to give gifts to your teachers, your hair stylists, your nail techs and others who you may see regularly throughout the year.
  • Pay it forward at a restaurant, coffee shop or the grocery store  
  • Donate to Toys for Tots
  • Donate to Salvation Army - we see plenty of the bell ringers with the red kettles standing in front of the mall and grocery stores in our area and we always give something.  The kids enjoy it and understand that they are doing something small but will add up to help.
  • Donate canned goods, clothing or other items to your local church.  They usually have a list of items of what they are looking for or if there's a specific family in need. 
  • Bake cookies or treats for friends or neighbors.
  • Help with chores around the house that you don't usually do and/or without being asked like helping your sibling clean his or her room.
  • Give someone a compliment
  • Give someone a smile
  • Discuss other ways you and your own family can show acts of kindness.  Have your kids come up with their own examples or ideas.
  • Let your child decide what charity to make a donation to or a place he would like to volunteer as a family
  • Place random acts of kindness ideas in a jar or envelope and choose one to do daily.  
  • Ask your children how they feel when they perform an act of kindness
  • Do an act of kindness for one another in your own family


My Son's Own Example of An Act of Kindness

Our son showed a beautiful self-less act last weekend.  We gave our kids the gift of the Monopoly board game as a 12 Days of Christmas gift in which each gift is a family activity we do together.  As we were playing, my daughter wanted to buy property and before we could help her count out the right amount of money, our son handed over his "cash" and said, "It's okay, I'll buy it for her."  It melted my heart!  Hmmm, maybe he'll do that when they are older, too!

The car is a great place to have talks like this with my kids because they actually will give me more than five minutes of their attention!  Are your kids the same?  There's always so much distractions at home so the car has become a place to have interesting and educational conversations, our "Mommy Cab Discussions."  Join us for the ride!

Do you have any family acts of kindness you would like to share?  We'd love to hear them, share them in the comments and if you enjoyed this post, please pin and share!












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