As we approach the month of February, there’s a certain joy that fills my heart. As a little girl, my dad had a way of making our Valentine’s Day absolutely magical, and because of his love and intentionality as a parent, my love for this month has stuck. On Valentine’s Day morning, we would wake up to the sweetest surprise of cut-out hearts, in red, pink, and white, leading us to our Valentine’s Day surprise at the kitchen table. While the gift that awaited us at the table was always such a treat, my very favorite thing about his Valentine’s Day surprise was that each cut-out heart was filled with handwritten words of affirmation, speaking over us how loved we truly were. This example he set gave me a glimpse of the kindness and intention I long to pour out over my own children. As parents, and especially as mamas, we have the opportunity to live lives that encourage our children to show kindness and intentionality to the world around them.
In light of the example my father set in our home, let me introduce to you The Kindness Project. This project is a practice of celebrating, spreading, and intentionally fostering kindness within the hearts of our children. As a former kindergarten teacher, this idea was originally created in my classroom in hopes of spreading kindness throughout our school in the month of February. Now, as a stay-at-home mama, my heart is filled with joy to recreate The Kindness Project within my home and yours. Here are some examples of different ways to create The Kindness Project with your family.
Kindness Project Calendar
Create this calendar by filling in each day of February with an act of kindness. The best way to encourage your children to get excited about this kindness practice is by allowing them to take ownership and share their ideas of what “kind” means to them. Help them brainstorm ideas that you can practically live out as a family each day. Some ideas could include: drawing a picture for the mail carrier, baking cookies for a neighbor, shoveling a grandparent’s sidewalk, or cleaning the house for mama. Be sure to allow your children to decorate the Kindness Project calendar you have created and put it in a place where they can see it each day! Each time your children complete one of the acts of kindness, check it off the calendar, and practice affirming the way they made another person feel loved. When they hear you speaking these words over them, they are encouraged to continue this practice and believe their kindness makes an impact in our world.
Kindness Project Mail
Create a list of people they would like to show kindness to this month. In order to help them think of this list, encourage them to reflect on the people in their lives who make them feel good, who have shown them love, and who have helped them to learn and grow. Each day, have your child write a letter or draw a picture to a person on the list (and be sure to encourage them to fill it with extra love)! If you live near a mailbox, take a daily adventure to drop off the letter, whether driving or walking, and spend the time talking about what you love about the person you are mailing the letter to. As you do this, you are leading your children into the practice of affirming those around them!
Kindness Project Donations
Each day of the month, encourage your child to donate one of their belongings to someone in need, whether it’s an article of clothing, a toy, or a craft supply. As you start teaching them about the idea of donating, it may be hard for them to give up things they love. If that’s the case, you could even consider beginning through donating only one item a week. We can also encourage them by donating something of our own. When our children see us living out these actions, we are setting an example that will lead them to want to follow in our footsteps.
Kindness Project Conversations
Each day, take time to talk about kindness with your children, whether it’s in the car on the way to school, around the dinner table, or while you are walking to the park. Ask questions such as “how did you show someone kindness today,” “how do you think that made them feel when you did that,” “what is one way someone showed you kindness today,” and “what is one way you are looking forward to showing kindness tomorrow?” Our conversations with our children encourage their little minds to think about things that matter most.
Kindness Project Affirmations
As mamas, our words have the ability to encourage, uplift, and change the way others think about themselves. To practice affirming those around you as a mama, create a list of people who have impacted your life, who have shown you kindness, or who you think may need extra love this month. Each day, text, call, or write a letter to one of those people, expressing to them how they have shown you love and what they mean to you.
Kindness Project Self-Care
I believe that as mamas, we are constantly putting others above ourselves, serving our families, helping in our communities, and going out of our way to show kindness to the ones we love. Because of this, we forget to show that type of kindness to ourselves. This month, I encourage you to create a calendar for you, whether it’s adding in time for self-care daily or once a week, it’s important to fill up your cup to continue to pour out to others. Some ideas of self-care could include: taking a bath, going to a get a massage, setting aside time to read your favorite book, cooking your favorite meal, getting a babysitter or grabbing a cup of coffee from your favorite coffee shop. It may seem like you have no time or energy to set aside time for you, but I encourage you to begin this practice in your own life because you matter and it’s important to show yourself kindness to setting aside time for you.
While every day of our lives may not include extravagant acts of kindness, like the handwritten hearts my dad left for me on Valentine’s Day, it’s the little things in life that truly make the difference in a child’s life. As mothers, we have the opportunity to impact the hearts of our children in everything we do. Here’s to raising kind humans and teaching our children to make a big difference in this world through little acts of kindness each and every day.