Kindness Starts At Home

When you think of paying it forward, you may think of paying for a stranger’s coffee or food in line behind you. What you may not think about is what kindness looks like in your own home. It’s easy to get irritated with your spouse and kids. As a family, you see each other at your best and worst. That’s why kindness within your home is so important.

Practicing kindness regularly helps to heal relationships and it encourages family members to love each other in simple ways. If you’re looking for some kind things you can do for a family member or if you’re teaching your kids how to be kind, encourage them to do some of the tasks listed below:

Thank each other.

When a family member does a job well, say “Thanks for putting your toys away” or “Thank you for helping with the laundry”. By thanking each other, your family practices both giving and receiving kindness.

Compliment each other.

School-age children can take turns complimenting their siblings. Younger kids may keep their comments focused on appearance or offer general compliments like “Jenny is pretty” or “Ray is nice”. As your kids get older, ask them to share what they love about their siblings like, “Ray is good at math” or “Jenny draws beautiful pictures”.

Acknowledge and celebrate kindness.

When you see your children being kind to each other, try to acknowledge it right then. You might say things, “You’re so sweet to share your toys with your little brother” or “You were so kind to let your sister go first”.

Apologize when needed.

You were having a bad day and you missed the mark. If you were unkind to a family member, offer a sincere apology and work harder to guard your words and actions in the future. When parents apologize to each other or to their kids, it sends the message that family members forgive and love each other.

Do chores for family members.

Depending on the ages of your children, you can encourage them to do chores for each other. You might say, “Why don’t you pick up the toys for Anna today?” or “Let’s tidy this room for Sarah to surprise her!”

Listen to each other.

One way your entire family can practice kindness is to let family members speak without interrupting. If you have small children, this concept can be difficult to grasp. It might be helpful to pass around a microphone. The person holding the microphone is allowed to speak without being interrupted. If other family members want to talk, they have to wait until the microphone is passed.

Send mail to each other.

Kids love getting things in the mail. You can have your kids send cards or small packages with homemade art to each other. Doing this gives children a chance to practice kindness both when sending and receiving.

Paying it forward and being kind to each other doesn’t start with strangers. It starts with those closest to you – your family. Practice kindness in your home first and foremost.

Paying it forward can be fun!

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