During the holidays, it’s easy to remember the importance of being kind and spreading love. But when it comes to the rest of the year, when the celebrations are over and your family has gone back to everyday life, the simple act of bringing joy to those around you can often fall to the wayside.
But here's the thing about teaching your kids to spread love: You don't need a special occasion or a holiday to do it. If you're looking, you'll find opportunities to complete acts of kindness on any old day
Parents of young kids have a unique opportunity when it comes to teaching their kids to be kind — they're in the position to help the next generation learn how easy and rewarding it can be to do good for others. Habits like this will stay with them long after they've forgotten that soccer trick shot, or that trendy new dance move.
It's in pursuit of this mission — to teach our kids the incredible value of spreading love — that we've partnered with Jif® to remind parents just how easy it can be to show kids the right path.
Here are 6 simple ways to teach your kids to spread kindness in the world.
1. Set an example
Setting an example for your kids is the best way to teach them to do anything. At home, make sure they see you expressing your love and gratitude to your family every day.
Thank your son for unloading the dishwasher, your husband for taking out the trash, and your daughter for walking the dog. And bonus: Your family will get in the habit of thanking you for all you do, too!
2. Talk to your kids about bullying
Ask them if they have seen examples of bullying at their school or with their friends. Help them brainstorm ways that they can reach out to or stand up for bullied kids, and role play a few potential situations so it feels more natural.
It’s never easy to take a stand against someone who is being unkind, so giving your children the tools to help them feel confident will give them the courage to do what's right.
3. Turn everyday experiences into learning opportunities
In the rush of daily life, it’s easy to turn a blind eye when someone else is in need. Take the time to make your kids aware of opportunities where they can help others.
So next time you're at the grocery store, let the mom with a crying baby go ahead of you in line, or encourage your kid to hold the door for someone juggling grocery bags.
We can bet that your kids will also be thrilled with the expressions of gratitude that they receive in return.
4. Volunteer as often as you can
Turn volunteering into a year-round activity, instead of something you only do on special occasions.
Parents are always looking for ways to keep their kids engaged. The truth is, activities don’t always have to involve sports or expensive classes in order to maintain kids’ interest. Pick causes your children are passionate about and schedule time each week or month for them to volunteer.
If your son loves animals, bring him to volunteer at the local shelter. If your daughter has a talent for music, bring her to a local nursing home to share her gift with the elderly. It’s a great way to grow your children’s passions while teaching them to spread love to those who need it.
5. Make a game out of it
Turning a task into a game can help get kids excited, keep them engaged, and teach them positive habits that will last a lifetime.
Play 'kindness bingo' throughout the week — fill out a chart with different acts of kindness, like giving a friend a compliment, holding the door open for someone, or giving a sibling a hug. Once your child covers all the kind acts, reward him or her with a small treat like a small toy or a special dessert.
6. Encourage gratitude
Help kids recognize and celebrate the acts of kindness that THEY receive every day. It’s easy to take the mailman or the school bus driver for granted. But imagine life without them — no cards from Grandma! No transportation to or from school!
Have your child help make thank you gifts for often-overlooked people as a small gesture of gratitude. In the cold winter months, some hot chocolate and cookies would be a welcome treat for a mail carrier. And in the hot summer months, a cold bottle of water and a peanut butter sandwich will help get the school bus driver through the afternoon.
Reminding your kids to be grateful for the little things will make them a force of good in the world, no matter where they end up.
This post is sponsored by Jif®.