Encourage random acts of kindness for kids to build confidence, community, and social skills needed for success.
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 important skills that aren’t academic.
I believe we could all agree that the world could use more kindness. As educators, we have the awesome 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 then 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 for kids could be decreasing the school’s rate of bullying. Completing kind acts has benefits for both parties. Being kind can increase serotonin levels, which is the chemical in the brain that helps us feel happy and positive (see Why Teaching Kindness in Schools Is Essential to Reduce Bullying). Kindness makes the person being kind to feel better and have more confidence in themselves. And it makes the person receiving the kindness feel better about themselves. In effect, reducing bullying in schools.
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 who aren’t 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 the adult, we can make a point to do kind things for the people around us. Even the smallest of things can make a big impact on someone.
Make a point to go through the whole class and do 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 note can bring a smile to their face.
- Talking – Just spending an extra moment 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 adults who are kind and value those around them. You bet that the children are watching us!
2. Lesson Plans
Direct instruction centered around being kind and treating other people well is important to schedule into your timetable.
SEL lessons offer us the opportunity 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 prepared for teachers to teach kids how to be kind to others.
- Roleplaying – Share scenarios with kids so they gain opportunities to 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 – One 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 – give kids an opportunity to practice kind acts on a regular basis by providing them a kindness calendar to check off each day. Here is a complete unit and kindness calendars 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 let them know 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 the types of things 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 gives kids a picture of 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 as they grow into future leaders.
Kindness Classroom Resources for K-5
Create meaningful learning opportunities with these kindness resources!
Digital Kindness Unit for 3-5 – Coming soon!
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!
Random Acts of Kindness Day is February 17h. Don’t forget to be kind!
More Ideas for Teaching Kindness to Kids
PIN for Later!
FREE Social Emotional Learning Email Series
Sign up for the social emotional learning email course filled with tips to get you started, lesson and activity ideas, PLUS tons of FREE resources you can access right away. Everything you need to teach social skills and emotional literacy in the classroom!