One of the reasons I wrote LOVE IS KIND was to show in fun story form what love and kindness in action could look like. Now, with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to share a few book-inspired tips to foster kindness in our kids. My hope is that they will inspire you and your little ones to follow in Little Owl’s footsteps and spread love and kindness near and far.
Tip #1 Be kind yourself. As Grammy from LOVE IS KIND would most certainly remind us, our little owls, I mean kids, are watching our every move. They are learning from us, seeing if our words match our actions. If we want them extend love and kindness to others, we must first be intentional about being kind ourselves in ways big and small.
Tip #2 Brainstorm ways to be kind. Little Owl was kind and loving every step of the way on his quest to get Grammy those chocolates, but he didn’t realize it until Grammy pointed it out. Sometimes reminders are helpful, so after reading the story, spend a few minutes brainstorming with your children some ways we can be kind to others. Consider having an older child write down your family’s ideas, then put them on the fridge as a visible daily reminder.
Tip #3 Make “good manners” a habit. Did you notice how polite Little Owl was throughout the story? And how good manners came so naturally to him? He said things like, “Have a good day!”, “Congratulations!” and “That’s nice.” I suspect Little Owl’s mama and papa were hard at work on a daily basis instilling those simple niceties. As parents and caregivers, we can do the same with our kids so that when they are out and about those kind and friendly interactions are second nature.
Tip #4 Wear “kindness glasses.” I like to wrap up author visits by challenging the kids to be kind to those around them just like Little Owl. To to help them remember this, I have them first hold their hands together so that thumbs and fingers touch to form a heart shape. I explain that these are their kindness glasses and I ask them to look through them every morning when they wake up and we all try it, which generates giggles all around. Then, while looking at them through my heart-shaped glasses, I challenge them to find at least one opportunity before the sun sets to extend kindness to another in an unexpected way. The silliness is part of the magic and it sets the tone for a good day. (Note: This tip pairs nicely with tip #2)
Tip #5 Catch each other being kind! Grammy caught Little Owl completely by surprise when she pointed out that he’d shown love and kindness along the way to Grammy’s. And what was Little Owl’s reaction? He was thrilled! He realized HE was the gift and that his kindnesses towards others were better than any store-bought gift. Likewise, your children will be delighted when you notice their kind deeds. And this, I am certain, will spur them on to more and more and more! And that should make every parent’s heart sing. It sure makes mine!
Blessings to you and your kids as you lovingly instill in them a heart for spreading love and kindness.
Note: A version of this post previously appeared on Jean Matthew Hall’s delightful blog.