Kindness. The word itself is pretty. It’s one of those life skills that seems so innate. Such that we should arrive in this world bursting with ideas on how to be kind to one another.
Unfortunately, that’s not really how it works.
Before becoming a parent, I always thought that showing kindness was something that we just did as humans. You arrived in the world automatically knowing that you should hold the door for someone and set the table for dinner without being asked. Or you should send a note to cheer up a friend’s day. Or bake treats for the local fire fighters to show how much you appreciate their efforts.
It turns out that knowing how to display these little nuggets of kindness doesn’t happen automatically. Like most things, they are something that need to be learned.
And to learn them, kids need to practice doing them every day.
I was so excited when I recently stumbled upon this kindness book, Be Kind: Make the World a Happier Place by Naomi Shulman (affiliate), in the library. Although we talk about ways to be kind as a family often, I don’t always know if that is concrete enough. It’s one thing to discuss how to be kind to one another and it’s completely different to actually take action.
What I loved about this book was all of the ideas. There are lots of ways to be kind to friends, family, community helpers and even animals. From thanking the helper at the grocery store to hanging a bird feeder in the backyard, it turns out that there are lots of ways to be kind every day. Many that you are probably already doing.
World Kindness Day (affiliate) is celebrated on November 13th. It’s a day when we can recognize ways as a family we can be kind to ourselves, each other and our communities.
But why only celebrate World Kindness Day once a year? Why can’t we focus on being kind for an entire month? Or even multiple months of the year?
So as part of our celebration this year, I created a Free Printable Kindness Calendar for Kids to celebrate 30 days of kindness. Each day features an act of kindness to do. You can work on all 30 acts of kindness or pick and choose which ones that your family would like to complete.
When designing the Free Printable Kindness Calendar for Kids, I included a mix of easy to do tasks and some that require more preparation. Some simpler ideas include smiling at everyone you meet, racing to say “Good Morning” first and sharpening a pencil for a friend. Other tasks take a little bit more work, but are worth the effort. You can paint a kindness rock, pick up trash at the playground or even set up a free lemonade stand.
We are working our way through the kindness calendar right now. Each day at breakfast, we read together how we want to focus on being kind that day. As a family, we make it a goal to try and exhibit that act of kindness to others or complete the suggested task.
Although there is a different act of kindness assigned to each day, you don’t have to follow the calendar by date. The goal is to just complete the tasks. The order doesn’t matter. It’s just a place to get started to celebrate kindness with your family.
You can also trade out tasks if they seem too complicated. Painting kindness rocks might not fit into your monthly schedule, but you can leave treats for your postman instead. When working on the kindness calendar, choose acts of kindness that work for your family and the time you have.
Also if an act of kindness doesn’t work for the time of year, get creative. If it is 30 degrees outside and snow on the ground in January, a free lemonade stand might not seem appropriate. Instead, set up a stand to hand out free hot cocoa or hot apple cider.
Ready to begin your 30 days of kindness? Download your Free Printable Kindness Calendar for Kids here.
Unlike other calendars, this one is not written with a specific month in mind. You can use it in the summer to add kindness activities to the kids’ summer vacation. Or celebrate kindness throughout November to recognize World Kindness Day. And if you’re really ambitious, set aside multiple months to celebrate kindness each year.
For older kids, you can also give each one their own kindness calendar. Then, they can choose which tasks they want to complete. Kids can work together to complete the kindness ideas or do them independently.
Not crazy about using a structured calendar? You can also create a kindness jar. Write down the tasks on the kindness calendar (and maybe some other ones of your own) onto strips of paper. Then, place the pieces of paper into the jar. Each morning, someone selects one strip of paper to decide the kindness task for the day.
And if you need a place to start the conversation of being kind with your kids, invite the Kindness Elves (affiliate) to visit. These adorable little elves made by Imagination Tree spread the message of kindness and sharing. They deliver lots of magic and fun too. There is even a sweet story to accompany the dolls (affiliate) and show how they spread kindness daily.
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How do you like to celebrate kindness as a family? Share your ideas in the comments below.