Friday 13th November is World Kindness Day.
There’s pretty much a celebration day for everything but this one comes at a time where we all need a gentle reminder to be kind to each other and kind to ourselves.
There’s no denying it’s been a stressful year. Lockdowns, lost livelihoods, politics and pandemics: 2020 has impacted on both individuals and communities. Whether you’ve been battling feelings of fear, uncertainty or frustration, World Kindness Day is well-timed to invite us all to think about the superpower of kindness.
Kindness Is A Superpower
Kindness has a ripple effect that we can never fully know. A warm smile, an act of generosity, a well- timed call, can all have a huge impact on someone’s life.
It’s good for our health as well. Being kind or witnessing an act of kindness can release feel-good chemicals such as serotonin, which helps us feel calm and happy. And oxytocin: the same hormone often referred to as the ‘love chemical’ as it is produced when we cuddle up with a loved one or feel connected to others.
Kindness is a superpower. The world can be made a better place through lots of small acts of kindliness.
Check out this video to find out more about the science behind kindness:
Raising Kind Kids
If we want to raise kind children, we need to lead by example. If they see us being kind to others, they will learn and assimilate that behaviour.
We can foster kindness by building empathy and understanding in our children
Books, films and tv shows can be used to start discussions about how to be kind. We can ask questions about which characters show kindness, whether there was a better way to behave or how your child may have acted differently if they were in a character’s shoes. From tots to teens, the more we have these conversations, the more we can support our child’s ability to empathise.
Brainstorm ways you can show kindness as a family
Children may have great ideas on ways they could spread a little kindness and they could even surprise you! You could turn an act of kindness into a fun family activity such as baking cakes for a neighbour, shopping for an elderly relative or making thank you cards or friendship bracelets.
Allow children to be helpful
Children who help with chores feel valued and get more opportunities to build their self-esteem. They learn early on that being helpful and kind to others has its own rewards. Don’t make it all about pocket money or incentives, we want our children to be intrinsically motivated and happy to help without rewards.
Be positively present
Spending quality time with our children is the best way we can show kindness to them. When we are present and responsive to our children, we build feelings of security, safety and contentment. This supports their emotional development, and children who are able to recognise and manage their emotions are more likely to be attuned to other people’s feelings and respond with kindness.
A Festive Idea:
Last year we tried out a new idea for advent.
We used the ideas from The Imagination Tree and tried to do one act of kindness a day on the run-up to Christmas. My little ones loved the Kindness Elves who love nothing more than to sprinkle joy wherever they go, especially the feelings associated with being kind to others. There are lots of ideas and suggestions on their Facebook and Instagram pages. It could be a lovely way to bring the festive spirit to your home and those around you.
5 Things To Try Today
Kindness is free. When we think of kindness, we often think about doing something positive for someone else. It is just as important to be kind to yourself – something we don’t always make time for as busy parents. This can be directed towards other people, ourselves, animals or our environment.
“Kindness is a gift everyone can afford to give”Unknown
Why not try these five easy ways to show kindness today?
- Send a message to a friend or loved one to let them know you are thinking of them.
- Smile. At someone in traffic, at the supermarket checkout, at a stranger walking past. A little smile goes a long way.
- Support a local business. Time has been tough for a lot of little businesses so even if you can’t afford to buy from them, leave a review on social media or share their adverts.
- Do something kind for the environment. Pick up some litter, walk to work, recycle your rubbish or take your reusable bags shopping.
- Save a bit of time for yourself today. Don’t give it all away. Do something that makes you happy such as listening to music, reading, relaxing or calling a friend.
Every kind act has a ripple effect. You never know the power of your actions. Choose Kindness this week and let us know your favourite memories from an act of kindness in the comments below.