My daughter, who before starting grad school to become a Speech and Language Pathologist, mentored three girls in our program, shared a Circle of Courage that shows our human need for belonging, mastery, generosity and independence. What struck me right away is that our kids want to be able to contribute in a meaningful way. From the time that they are little, kids try to make a difference; I loved reading a story last night about a 9 year old who set out to do 1000 acts of kindness after her father died.
Sometimes, this desire gets squashed by life circumstances and sometimes the desire gets hard to see as kids navigate developmental tasks in front of them, but even in the toughest customers, I’ve seen kids hungry to help.
One of our pre-Covid programs was group mentoring. Boys who are not leaders in the traditional sense gave up their lunch to mentor younger boys while they all put together bikes for kids who needed one. Last year, some of your mentees made cards for residents of long term care facilities who were feeling really isolated from the Covid restrictions on visitors and programming. If you are looking for something new to do with your mentee, you might consider ways that your mentee can contribute to the world. If you could use ideas, we have a bunch and if you have a new idea let us know!
Walk around school giving out compliments.
Say “thank you” to someone who made a difference. . . .Send a card to people who dedicate their lives to helping us – soldiers, police officers, fire fighters and teachers to name a few.
Decorate lunch bags for the food pantry.
Make a friendship bracelet.
Write happy sticky notes
Give your child a stack of sticky notes and some markers and let them fill the pad with happy pictures, kind messages, and compliments. Have them put the notes where it can brighten someone’s day throughout the school or when they get home.
A child’s smile is one of the most precious things in the world. Teach children to do it in a safe, comfortable way but a kid’s smile can make a person’s whole day.
Practice polite manners
Kids can be more polite than we often expect them to be. Saying “please” and “thank you” to both loved ones and people in the community is a simple way to show respect and kindness to others. Other kind phrases for kids may include “I’m so sorry!” and “How can I help?”
Make kindness rocks.
Color a picture for someone.
Learn to say hello in different languages.
Write someone an encouraging poem.
Be Kind to Others… And Yourself
“Take the time to tell other kids that you like them and think they are special. Even if they are different than you. Just a few kind words can make a huge difference in someone’s day. And that includes being kind to yourself. We can be so hard on ourselves sometimes. Always remember to be proud of who you are and know that you are not alone. We are all in this together, and your love and kindness will make the world a better place to live.”
Share Real-Life Examples of Kind Kids
Sharing stories of kind things other kids have done can inspire your mentee to think creatively about how he/she can help. For example, a 4-year-old neuroblastoma patient, Alex Scott, who raised $2,000 with a lemonade stand in her front yard to help doctors find cures for kids battling cancer. That lemonade stand has turned into a non-profit cancer research organization that has funded nearly 1,000 research projects at 135 institutions.
Read/Watch Kindness Focused Stories
It’s important to model kindness for your kids — but it’s also important to expose them to stories and characters (from books, TV, or movies) that show kids the goodness in the world. “When you see all those different examples, you then start to have a conversation: ‘Well, what can we do? What can we do in our neighborhood? What can we do in our community?’”
Walk around outside and clean up the school grounds together.
Take gratitude brain breaks
Reset their stressed-out brains by engaging them to think about the things they are grateful for or, even better, the things their classmates do that they are grateful for.
Brainstorm and create a list of ways to be kind and contribute to the world.
Lisa Ott - February 2022