Kindness is a superpower kids can choose every day. Flag these inspiring ideas.

By The Editors of Parents.com
Updated January 26, 2021
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An image of two sisters hugging.
Credit: Getty Images.

"Be nice, and don't be a bully." Chances are your kids hear that phrase all the time—at home, at school, or during their extracurricular activities. Instead of making kindness just another rule, what if we showed kids that it's a superpower that makes both themselves and others feel good? Indeed, research shows that being kind boosts happiness and well-being, and that kindness leads to an increase in peer acceptance.

To get started, consider doing these seven random acts of kindness for kids. Each idea will help your little one become confident in their abilities to impact the world around them.

1. Share a Kind Note

This idea stresses the importance of positive words. Ask your child what kindness means to them, and encourage them to write a pleasant note to someone special—a new classmate, a friend, or a teacher's aide are all great choices. Feel free to get creative with the note; it can be a homemade card, a handwritten letter, or a collection of drawings.

2. Demonstrate the Power of Encouragement

Grab some colorful sticky notes and pens, and ask your child to fill them with encouraging compliments like "You're awesome," "You can do this," or "You're a good friend." Tell them you're collecting the notes for someone special. When your child isn't looking, add their name to the notes and hide them around the house for them to discover.

3. Pick Up Litter Together

During your next neighborhood stroll, collect a few pieces of litter with your child. Then have a conversation about how everyone has the power to make the world more beautiful. You can also do this random act of kindness in many other places, from the playground to the parking lot to the beach.

4. Find Someone to Thank

Kind words go a long way, and it's never a bad time to express gratitude. Encourage your child to say thanks to a teacher, a grocery store cashier, or someone holding the door for them. You can even make a game out of finding people to thank together.

5. Add Gratitude to Your Evening Routine

Discussing gratefulness can be an eye-opening (and profound) experience for a child. Every night before bed, ask your kid what made them happy that day. Kindness.org co-founder and chief strategist Melissa Burmester shares, "I've started doing this with my 2-year-old and it's become one of my favorite times of the day. Yesterday she was grateful for sunshine, fig bars, and Grandma. The day before that it was puddles to jump in."

6. Play "I Spy Kindness"

Kindness exists all around us—we just need to start looking. When you're out with your child, point out unexpected smiles, people helping strangers carry shopping bags, someone giving up their seat on the bus, etc. The more kind acts that your kid witnesses, the more ideas they'll have for spreading cheer on their own!

7. See Something, Do Something

Kids pay attention more than we think. The next time your child asks a question about someone experiencing homelessness, or about an issue on the news like immigration, do one small thing about it together as a family. For example, give gently used clothing to a shelter for families, make a donation, or volunteer together.

Jaclyn Lindsey, CEO and co-founder of Kindness.org, reminds us that while children may have trouble understanding the complexity of these issues, doing an act as a family empowers them to feel like they can help. "As a mom to 9-month-old Abel, I hope when he's old enough to perceive these challenges, my husband and I have led by example," she says. "We want him to instinctively treat all people with dignity, never jump to conclusions about someone because of their circumstances, and to never look down on someone unless he is helping them up."

Every act, no matter how small, makes a difference. (That goes for you, too!) Help your child engage their kindness superpowers today!