Encourage random acts of kindness ideas for encouraging kids to build confidence, classroom community, and social skills needed for success and happiness.
Acts of Kindness for Kids in School
As teachers, we know how important it is to teach academic subjects. After all, that is our job! But we sometimes forget that we have a valuable opportunity to teach other essential skills that aren’t academic.
I believe we could all agree that the world could use more kindness. As educators, we have the incredible opportunity to teach and encourage kindness to children, who will one day be leaders.
Being kind doesn’t always come naturally; it is a skill that must be emphasized, taught, and practiced.
A classroom that is characterized by acts of kindness rather than competition will be an environment that is more conducive to learning. Not only will our classrooms be more peaceful, but the kindness we teach in our room can also spread around the school, creating a positive school culture.
Another by-product of teaching acts of kindness to kids could be decreasing the school’s rate of bullying. Completing kind acts has benefits for both parties. Being kind can increase serotonin levels, the chemical in the brain that helps us feel happy and optimistic (see Why Teaching Kindness in Schools Is Essential to Reduce Bullying).
Kindness makes the person being kind feel better and have more confidence in themselves. And it makes the person receiving the kindness feel better about themselves. In effect, they are reducing bullying in schools.
Table of Contents
- Acts of Kindness for Kids in School
- Ways to Encourage Acts of Kindness with Kids
- Kindness Teacher Resources for K-5
- More Ideas for Teaching Kindness to Kids
Ways to Encourage Acts of Kindness with Kids
Teaching kindness in the classroom is important, but how can we do that effectively? In particular, how can we encourage random acts of kindness amongst peers and school personnel? How do we promote kind deeds “just because” for people not expecting it?
Below are some ways we can do to encourage kids to grasp this concept.
1. Be the model
Of course, the best teaching method is by example. As adults, we can make a point of doing kind things for the people around us. Even the smallest of things can make a significant impact on someone.
Make a point of going through the whole class and doing one kind act for each child throughout the week or month.
These can be little things like:
- Practical help – Helping them clean up their desk shows them you are there for them and that you care.
- Writing notes – Writing them an encouraging message can make them smile.
- Talking – Spending extra time talking with them can make them feel seen and worthy.
There are so many little ways to brighten a child’s day. We want to be seen as kind adults and value those around them. You bet that the children are watching us!
2. Lesson Plans
Direct instruction centered around kindness and treating others well is important to schedule into your timetable.
SEL lessons allow us to demonstrate how significant these topics (such as kindness and respect) are and that they are just as important to learn as the other subjects taught in school.
- Morning meetings – Schedule these lessons during your morning meeting as activities.
- Prewritten plans – Create your own lesson plans or use kindness lessons that are already created for you.
- Randomactsofkindness.org – This website has materials for teachers to teach kids how to be kind to others.
- Role-playing – Share scenarios with kids so they can think through situations, discuss how they might handle them, and act them out.
Provide opportunities for kids to practice random acts of kindness throughout the day. It takes a little extra planning to make these opportunities available, but they create great learning moments.
- Write thank-you notes – Write thank-you notes to school staff members (or family members) as a surprise “thank you” for the things they do.
- Give compliments – On their own pad of sticky notes, kids can write a compliment to another child and stick it on their desk when they aren’t looking.
- Bucket filling – Teach kids to be a “bucket filler” – similar to giving compliments, each child attempts to fill the buckets of others by saying or doing kind things. You can find pre-written bucket filler lesson plans in the store.
- Play games – Play Kindness Bingo. Each time a child completes a kind act, they mark that spot. When their card is full, they get a prize.
- Provide ideas – Post a list of random acts of kindness in the classroom that kids can do. Remind them to take a look at it and find something they can do for another person. Grab the FREE list of ideas below!
- Create a kindness challenge – allow kids to practice kind acts regularly by providing them with a kindness calendar to check off each day. Here is a complete unit and kindness calendar to go with!
4. Provide Positive Feedback
An important teaching strategy to try is providing positive feedback when you see kids doing kind things for others.
If you see someone do something nice for others, pull them aside and tell them you saw it. Or, if appropriate, acknowledge them in front of the class.
- Kindness Awards – Kindness awards are a great way to recognize children’s efforts. This helps kids identify what they can do to be kind and feel proud for making that choice.
5. Read Kindness Books
There are wonderful books out there that promote kindness. Kids find it helpful to see kindness “in action” in stories. Below are 3 examples, and you can find many more in our recommended Kindness book list.
- How Full Is Your Bucket?- Kids learn that being kind to others makes everyone feel happier.
- Be Kind– This book shows kids what kindness can look like.
- Kindness Counts– Kids explore the idea of “paying it forward” and what happens when kindness isn’t easy.
Find more social-emotional learning children’s books in our easy-to-navigate lists categorized by topic!
6. Kindness Challenge
You can have your class (or even your school!) participate in a kindness challenge.
Over the course of a month, challenge everyone to complete a kind act. These are often small but meaningful things.
Remind kids each day of the challenge and share experiences. Celebrate with a party at the end of the month when the challenge has been completed.
Kindness is a worthy topic to cover in the classroom. Showing more kindness will enhance the learning environment, build confidence in kids, and potentially decrease the classroom’s negative behaviors.
It will build a lifelong skill that kids need to become future leaders.
Kindness Teacher Resources for K-5
Proud to be Primary has many resources to help teach and bring kindness into your classroom. With kindness units and book companions, you can find almost everything you need to ensure your classroom is full of kindness.
Create meaningful learning opportunities with these kindness resources!
- Kindness & Bucket Filler Lessons & Social Skills Activities for K-2
- Social-Emotional Kindness Book Companions
- Kindness Classroom Challenge, Calendars, & Activities
- Digital Kindness Unit for K-2
- Kindness Unit for Grades 3-5
FREE Random Acts of Kindness List of Ideas
Download a free copy of RAOK ideas to promote kindness in your classroom. Print and post your copy as a helpful visual for kids!
Click the image below to sign-up for your free copy!
Kindness Calendar Poster Kit
Encourage students to complete acts all month long with this FREE Kindness Calendar Poster kit.
This kit gives you over a month of ideas ready for you and all the materials to put together a reusable calendar. Create a kindness challenge together!
Click the image below to get a free copy!
Random Acts of Kindness Day is February 17h. Don’t forget to be kind!
More Ideas for Teaching Kindness to Kids
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