INSIDE: Getting your kids to care about kindness, empathy and service to others. Books to encourage charity and community service in kids.
*This post contains affiliate links. A purchase of any of these items helps to support this blog and its creative efforts at no cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. To read more, please see my disclosure page.
My best “lectures” are in the car. Everyone is buckled in, Child Lock is enabled and short of plugging their ears and singing La-La-La, no one can escape a mom talk.
It was in the midst of one such passionate car chats that I brought up the topic of kindness. Something on the lines of what could they do that day to be kind to someone else. And that’s when I heard one of these trapped children let out an exasperated sigh and exclaim, “What’s with you and all this kindness stuff?”
Now I get it. It’s like 7:30 in the morning. On a school day. We’re rushing. And here’s mom preaching about being kind. But this lovely child – who truly is a kind and caring kid – with the eye rolling and sass-filled disinterest totally got my attention. Was I raising a small human who simply didn’t give a flip about kindness?!
5 Easy Ways For Kids to Manage Kindness and Empathy
Knowing this kiddo as I do, it wasn’t a lack of empathy and compassion that was giving me attitude in the backseat. It was that I wasn’t talking their language. In other words, they didn’t want a lecture from mom but ideas and activities they could be in charge of themselves.
Here are some simple ways to let kids run away with kindness and rule their own kind roost!
Research shows that people who make gratitude a daily part of their lives are more likely to be helpful, compassionate and happy. Each November, I place a bright orange pumpkin in the kitchen and a Sharpie marker next to it. It’s not a rule that we jot down our daily appreciations and admittedly, days go by when the pumpkin sits untouched. But more often than not, I’ll walk by and see a new addition to our gratitude pumpkin in large, crooked handwriting and know that even Legos, books and sleepovers can be appreciated!
How to Get Your Kids to Care About Kindness
Tap Into Kids Interests
My oldest loves books and would love nothing more than to spend her days lazily reading. So I combined her love of books with a local organization that provides books to children and family agencies around our town. Each month, we would pick up a new box of books and stock the small bookshelf in the waiting room of a child services agency. And then use the car ride home
(for a mom sermon) to talk about why those children were there receiving services and aid.
Point Out Their Kindnesses
Even though we try to be cool and civil to each other most of the time, I’m still blown away when I see or hear my kids being decent and kind to each other. On their own! And when I’m lucky enough to be witness to those moments of kindness, I make it a point to acknowledge the act. Then cross my fingers it happens again.
Expose Kids to Differences
For about 10 years, my husband worked with patients in wheelchairs. And whenever possible, we would take the kids to various charity walks for ALS or events for Muscular Dystrophy. While he has since left that job, we continue to expose the kids to differences and physical disabilities whenever possible. Like finding a local wheelchair basketball game to enjoy together on a Saturday.
10 Great Books to Read About Kindness and Empathy
Read Books about Charity, Giving and Changing the World
Sometimes it’s easier to read about about kids making a difference than to listen to mom prattle on about it! These books will empower all of us to consider how we can use our talents and contributions to make it a more kind and decent world for all.
Click the image and read on!
So, yeah, this mom is going to continue to get up on her kindness soapbox and try for some deep, meaningful discussions while everyone is “trapped” in the car. While also allowing my small humans to flex their kindness muscles in ways that work best for them.
More Kind Kids Ideas: