Being kind is hard. Especially when you are 2 and 4. We have been having a lot of problems being kind to each other at our house. I realize my daughters are young and acting the same way most toddlers and preschoolers act, but I want better for them. I want them to learn from a young age how to treat people with kindness and I want it to start in the home. I want my daughters to treat each other and their friends and family with kindness. And then I want them to go out into the world and let that kindness radiate for everyone to see. I knew we needed to do something to explicitly teach kindness at our house, so I developed the Kindness Club Challenge.
To start off our focus on kindness, we gathered up a lot of books from the library. Some were geared specifically for young children, some were more for older kids, some were easy to understand, some took discussions to get them to understand what the book was teaching. You can find our favorite kindness books for young children HERE.
After we read the books, I developed The Kindness Club Challenge. My thought was to make this something easy that didn't involve a lot of work or prizes. It just focused on different ways to be kind. I typed up these different ways on individual cards and hung them backwards. Each day I flip over a new card and put it on our chart so the girls know what we are focusing on. We talk about what the challenge is for the day and what it will look like and sound like when they are meeting that challenge. I go out of my way to try to find something the girls are doing to meet the challenge.
Even though I didn't want any extrinsic reward for being kind, I wanted some way for my girls to recognize when they were caught being kind and something they could share with Daddy when he got home from work. I made a basic chart that we are using as a sticker chart. They each have one and if I catch them doing the challenge for the day, I put a sticker on the chart. We use the same chart each day even once we are working on a new challenge. It isn't a contest. The stickers aren't turned in for other prizes. It is simply a visual reminder of the kindness they showed during the day.
- Listen the first time
- Say please and thank you
- Help someone else
- Clean up your things
- Be kind
- Use kind words
- Try your best
- Be a good friend
- Keep working hard
I've included our kindness challenge as a freebie for you that you can download HERE. I've also included some cards that are more focused on school behaviors. In addition to that, there are four blank and editable cards where you can add your own challenges. If you want it to match mine, the font I used was HelloAli which you can find HERE.
This isn't a perfect solution and my little ones aren't instantly kind all the time, but it is a start. And we are making them more aware of their behaviors and how what they do (or don't do) can be a way to show kindness to others.
While all of this kindness focus has been going on, my girls randomly latched on to the show Daniel Tiger on PBS. It is a cartoon spinoff of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. I have no idea where it came from but all of a sudden they wanted to watch that and only that. At first I was kind of annoyed...Daniel seems whiny to me at times and I don't want them learning that behavior. But the more they watched it, the more I realized they were learning appropriate behaviors in different social settings. There is a focus each episode and usually a little song to go with it. My girls have been singing these songs over and over. Now, they don't always stop what they are about to do and remember how Daniel Tiger learned to solve the problem but they are starting to think about it more and be aware. My 4 year old even suggested putting saying please on the kindness club challenge after watching an episode. If you need a little break and are looking for a good show that can actually teach your child appropriate ways to solve problems, check out Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood.