Nov 032015
 

Six Easy Ways for Kids to Get Involved in Charity | Alldonemonkey.com

I am a big believer that children can and should get involved in charity at an early age.  But I also know first hand how busy life with young children can be.  Often we end up so focused on the day to day of sippy cups and diapers, shoe tying and nose wiping, that the thought of adding one more thing to our to-do list is simply overwhelming.

Yet, since raising kind, concerned world citizens is central to our core values, I knew it was necessary to incorporate charity into our family life, but in a way that was natural and easy to maintain.  Here are 6 easy ways that we have found to get our kids involved in giving back to our community.  Share your ideas in the comments!

For even more ideas, visit my Random Acts of Kindness page or board on Pinterest, or read about how to involve young children in service.

6 Easy Ways for Kids to Get Involved in Charity

1. Keep a box in the closet for donations: With two growing boys, it seems like I am constantly finding clothes that no longer fit or toys that have lost their novelty.  Now I keep a box in the closet to collect such items, and when it is full, we make a trip to the nearest drop-off center for our local charity.  It’s easy to do, plus seeing that box there reminds me to keep an eye out for items that we can spare!  It can be a good teaching tool for children as well: Some families have a one-in-one-out rule for toys, where children choose a toy to donate for each new toy they receive.

2. Throw a party: Having a birthday party for your child?  Or a sleepover over a long weekend?  Whatever the occasion, you can tie it to charity by getting the kids excited about a service project or collecting donations for a favorite charity.  We have often asked that kids bring a canned good with them to our birthday parties, for example, which my boys later help me to deliver to a local non-profit. Think your kids wouldn’t go for it?  You’d be surprised!  Here is a wonderful how-to for collecting charitable donations at a birthday party.  And you can also read about kids having a blast while doing a service project at a party.  Never underestimate the power of collective enthusiasm from those young idealists – it is contagious!  And it’s also a great way to reinforce the idea that special occasions aren’t just about getting but about giving, too.

Six Easy Ways for Kids to Get Involved in Charity | Alldonemonkey.com

3. Make a family donation: Often for the boys’ birthdays we let them pick a charity for us to make a financial donation in their name.  Never mind that the donation is modest, the boys get excited that they get to pick where to donate.  It is wonderful to see their excitement, and the decision-making process is a good way for them to begin to think critically about what causes are important to them.

4. Follow their lead: Let your children take the initiative in choosing a charity to get involved in.  If they are interested in animals or concerned about the environment, for example, look for organizations dedicated to related causes.  If they have seen about a disaster in the news, getting involved in helping those affected can also help them process the event by doing something positive to help.  Here is a wonderful example of a mother and two young boys who got involved in the relief effort after the Oklahoma tornadoes.

5. Join a kindness club: If you have school age children, be on the lookout for a kindness club at their school.  We are lucky enough to have one at our school, plus some friends from our local Bahá’í community started a no-cost kindness camp for kids over the summer.  Our character building class has also done several service projects together, like cleaning up a park and painting vases to donate to elderly patients at a local hospice.  Often these groups encourage kids to do acts of kindness at school or at home and sponsor fundraisers or collection drives for local charities.  And they are really fun!  Again, what a powerful way to harness that collective enthusiasm and energy for a good cause!  And if you don’t have a kindness club at your school, start one yourself!

Six Easy Ways for Kids to Get Involved in Charity | Alldonemonkey.com

6. Declare a Random Acts of Kindness Day: Of course we try to incorporate charity into our lives throughout the year, but events are also fun and can help kids focus on the idea of giving back.  So pick a day – whether once a month or once a year – that you can dedicate to performing acts of kindness.  For example, one year my preschooler and I delivered cookies to the local fire department and our local library, donated books to the children’s hospital, and left chocolates for our mail carrier and doctor’s office.  And we had so much fun doing it together!

Six Easy Ways for Kids to Get Involved in Charity | Alldonemonkey.com

The Chain of Betters project from Western Union empowers people with the opportunity to change the lives of others.  Together we can create a chain of good deeds and start to change lives in ways we wouldn’t have imagined was possible.  Watch this amazing video about ordinary people bringing this concept to life!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Dec 152014
 
 December 15, 2014  Christmas, Random Acts of Kindness, spiritual education Comments Off on Christmas Acts of Kindness: Caroling for the Sick and Elderly, Plus Tips for Caroling with Kids

Christmas Acts of Kindness: Caroling for the Sick and Elderly, Plus Tips for Caroling with Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

Growing up in a small rural town in North Carolina, I remember vividly the closeness of the community and how people really did treat everyone like family.  One way they always showed their concern for the sick and the elderly was to bring them a special treat at Christmas: caroling!

You have to remember that this is a place where your nearest neighbor might live half a mile away – if you lived in a busy part of town!  While such spacious living did have its advantages, one downside was that it could be very isolating for “shut-ins,” those that because of illness or age were unable to venture out.

Luckily this was a place where people were not forgotten, especially at Christmastime.  So one chilly Saturday in December, many of the families gather to spread some holiday cheer with some good old-fashioned caroling.  While this is done in many places, here is a peek at how this community organizes it.

Acts of Kindness: Caroling for the Sick and Elderly

Each year they visit a number of homes where the residents are sick or elderly and so could use some good cheer from their neighbors.  Because of the cold (and the condition of those they are visiting), they keep each visit short, singing 3-4 songs as the recipient watches from their front porch.  As there are always children among the carolers, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” is a perennial favorite, as are “Silent Night” and “We Wish You A Merry Christmas.”

When the songs are over, they call out their well wishes and move on, without expectation of receiving anything in return.

Instead, they organize among themselves a progressive dinner, which they enjoy in between caroling stops.  At the beginning of the night, they gather at the home of our former neighbors – and dear friends – for appetizers.  After a few caroling visits, they continue to another home for the main course, before ending up at a third house at the end of the evening for dessert and a longer visit.  My mother jokes that it is amazing that for people who see each other everyday, they always have lots to talk about!

The children, of course, rush upstairs to the toy room, while the adults enjoy each other’s company until late in the evening.  Though my parents moved away years ago, they still make the trip back for caroling as often as they can, and I remember fondly the year I was able to join them!  It was such a warm, festive atmosphere, despite the cold, and it was especially heart-warming to see what joy it brought to those we sang to.

Tips on Caroling with Kids

Now we live with our little ones on the other side of the country, but I am trying to recreate this joyful experience with my children by caroling at a local retirement center.  I asked a good friend of mine for tips about successful caroling with kids, which I am sharing them with you below.  She is a smart lady, so these are definitely worth noting!

  1. Practice ahead of time:  Ideally you will have time to practice together as a group, but if not, at least make sure everyone has the lyrics to practice at home
  2. Keep it short: Though it is tempting as adults to want to pull out all the stops and sing all of our old favorites, that is an easy way to lose children’s attention – especially if they are songs they are not familiar with (see #3 below).  Keep it short and snappy, so that you end while everyone is still paying attention and enjoying themselves.  For young kids, 3 or perhaps 4 songs are plenty.
  3. Sing songs they know: Make things simple by choosing songs they are already familiar with.  Not only will it be easier to teach them the lyrics, they will have lots of fun singing their holiday favorites.  For us, this would be “Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph,” and “Frosty the Snowman.”
  4. Bring props: Keep things fun by giving the kids some instruments to play – jingle bells are perfect!  Not all kids will want to sing in front of strangers, but most will enjoy shaking jingle bells.
  5. Limit the number of houses: Again, keep it short and simple.  If you are caroling in a neighborhood, 3-4 houses is a good number for preschoolers.  You may be able to fit in a few more for older children, but try not to stretch them too much, especially considering the cold weather!
  6. End with some hot chocolate and treats!  Finish things off on a high note by giving them some yummy treats.  This can also be a good motivator when their spirits start to flag, plus it ensures a positive finish no matter what happens during the caroling!

Have you taken your kids caroling?  Share your tips in the comments!

Christmas in Different Lands | Multicultural Kid Blogs

This post is part of the Christmas in Different Lands series from Multicultural Kid Blogs.  Be sure to visit the main page and Pinterest board!

Oct 312014
 

Mustard Seed School: A Haven for Kids in Need | Alldonemonkey.com

This summer we had the privilege of participating in an amazing contest from One World Futbol and Multicultural Kid Blogs: rather than giving away a book or a toy to a reader, we were vying for the right to give the gift of play to kids in need!

I was so honored to be one of the lucky winners, thanks to you, my wonderful readers!  And as a thank you, I’d like to share with you our trip to donate the special, virtually indestructible soccer ball to the amazing Mustard Seed School for homeless children.

Many homeless children are not enrolled in school because the places their families find to sleep are often not near a child’s school and the family only plans to be there a short time. Sometimes the school needs an address or updated immunizations which homeless families cannot provide.

Mustard Seed School was established in 1989 to help meet the needs of homeless children in the Sacramento area.  Not having a stable address means that many school age children do not attend school.  Some lack immunization, birth certificates, or other documents; some are deterred by the requirement to provide an address in order to register for school; others are so focused on survival that schooling is a lower priority.  Almost all lack a support system and a helping hand.  In spite of their situations these children are eager to learn and to be accepted.

Mustard Seed School: A Haven for Kids in Need | Alldonemonkey.com

This is why a school like the Mustard Seed is so needed.  It truly is a haven for children in great need of a safe, inviting place to learn and thrive.  The tireless workers, volunteers and donors have gone to great lengths to make the school a fun, cozy place for children.  They are concerned with the physical and emotional needs of the children.  In addition to providing support to parents (for example, with documents and immunizations needed to enroll their children in regular public schools), they also provide healthy lunches and snacks – even “weekend bags” with food to take home for those that need it!  (I was very impressed with their emphasis on healthy food for the kids.  This is very clearly outlined in their guidelines for donors).

The Mustard Seed School is designed to be a short-term solution, until the families find housing and the kids can enroll in regular public schools. As a result, their emphasis is less on the academic and more on emotional and social support for the kids.  I love that they have a school counselor who comes once a week to help the kids through tools like play therapy.

Mustard Seed School: A Haven for Kids in Need | Alldonemonkey.com

Yet a school like the Mustard Seed also faces great challenges.  At the time of our visit earlier this month, they had 38 students enrolled, from preschool to 8th grade, but they never know from day to day exactly how many children will show up.  The children typically only stay about 4-6 weeks before they moved or are transitioned to public school.

The children come from a wide variety of backgrounds, and their education has often been done in fits and starts.  Most kids are in shelters, living in motels, or on the streets, so they all have emotional and physical needs crying for attention.

Mustard Seed School: A Haven for Kids in Need | Alldonemonkey.com

How You Can Help Kids in Need:

Do you have a similar school or institution in your area?  A friend from our character building class and I brainstormed with the office manager of Mustard Seed – who kindly took the time to show us around and answer our questions – to come up with these ideas for how we could get involved:

1. Donate supplies.  Do a donation drive to provide much needed supplies.  Call ahead to find out exactly what their needs are.  Often they can send you a list or you can find one on their website.  For the Mustard Seed School, for example, their greatest needs were school supplies but also underwear and socks for the kids.  They were also excited to receive the One World Futbol!

Mustard Seed School: A Haven for Kids in Need | Alldonemonkey.com

2. Provide food.  The Mustard Seed provides healthy lunches and snacks for up to 40 kids every single day.  You could donate lunches for one day, or sign up to do it on a regular basis.  And if you can’t do lunches, perhaps you could provide healthy snacks like granola bars and yogurt cups that they can keep in the classrooms or send home with the kids over the weekend.

3. Volunteer in the classroom.  The hard-working teachers can always use a helping hand in the classroom – whether it’s assisting with daily tasks or providing tutoring/mentorAlling.  Perhaps you have traveled to/lived in another country.  Why not come and do a presentation for the kids?  Or maybe you could do a fun art project with them!

4. Throw a party!  If there were ever kids that needed a party, it is students like those at the Mustard Seed School!  A really fun way to make a difference is to provide treats and activities for a holiday party and bring a smile to a little one’s face.

Thank you so much to the Mustard Seed School for taking the time to give us a tour of the school and to One World Futbol for sharing the gift of play with these amazing kids!

Follow our series Random Acts of Kindness for more ideas for how you and your kids can get involved in your community!

Sep 192014
 
 September 19, 2014  Fall, Random Acts of Kindness 3 Responses »

Acts of Kindness for Fall | Alldonemonkey.com

This post is part of the Mega Cash Giveaway and Fall Linkup from Kid Blogger Network- see details below!

Teaching my children values like showing kindness to others is central to how I am trying to raise my sons.  I draw inspiration from other bloggers who have found many creative ideas to do acts of kindness with their kids, many of which are showcased in our Random Acts of Kindness series.  Now I’m excited to be sharing some wonderful ideas for acts of kindness especially for the fall season!

Acts of Kindness for Fall | Alldonemonkey.com

Acts of Kindness: Supporting Schools

Coffee Cups and Crayons: 25 Ways to Make a Difference This School Year – Everything from donating school supplies to waving to school buses!

Sense of Wonder: Reaching Out to a Community in Need – Great ideas for helping underprivileged students

Tutus & Tea Parties: Donate School Supplies – Take advantage of donation drives in your area

Glittering Muffins: Helping Hands: School Supplies – Showing that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make a difference!

Kids Yoga Stories: Back to School: Acts of Kindness – Ideas for teaching your child to be a respectful and kind class member.  I love that she includes acts of kindness to do for yourself!

Pennies of Time: Thank a Teacher with Yard Signs – Fun and inexpensive way to thank a special teacher in your child’s life

All Done Monkey: Top Ten Ways to Support Teachers – There are lots of ways to get involved with schools all year round!

Acts of Kindness for Fall | Alldonemonkey.com

Acts of Kindness: Hunger Action Month

September is Hunger Action Month!  You can find lots of ways to get involved through Moms Fighting Hunger and No Kid Hungry

The Good Long Road: Ten for Tuesday: Simple Ways to Fight Hunger – From bake sales to playing games!  I love her emphasis on empowering kids to make a difference!

Pennies of Time: Fall Harvest Boxes for Meals on Wheels – Organize your friends and neighbors to give back to the elderly

KC Edventures: Host a Neighborhood Food Drive – An easy tutorial for a food drive you can get ready in less than an hour!

Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tail: Mini Can Food Drive – A great way to teach kids to give!

The Pleasantest Thing: Easy Ideas to Get Kids Involved in the Fight Against Hunger – Wonderful ideas to get kids involved, including decorating food donations and collecting fresh produce

Coffee Cups and Crayons: 13 Ways Families Can Help Fight Hunger – I love the read-a-thon idea!

The Good Long Road on Multicultural Kid Blogs: Making a Difference Globally and Locally for Hunger Action Month – Great ideas for how to make a difference in your community and beyond
Acts of Kindness for Fall | Alldonemonkey.com

Acts of Kindness: Fall Holidays

Toddler Approved on Life Your Way: Make a Fall Kindness Wreath – A wonderful fall craft that also serves as a reminder for how to show kindness

Makeovers & Motherhood: Fall & Holiday Kid-Friendly Service Projects – I love the idea of visiting a senior home for Halloween!

Toddler Approved: Halloween Kindness Box – Such a creative way to keep kids focused on others during a holiday that is often “me me me”!

Happiness is Homemade: Free You’ve Been Booed Printables – If you’ve never participated in this pay-it-forward game with your neighbors, it is a super fun way to spread Halloween cheer!

Pennies of Time: Fingerprint Turkey Notes – This is a darling craft you can use to show kindness to your neighbors

The Pleasantest Thing: Thankful Nature Walk – A beautiful way to show kindness to nature as well as teach kids gratitude

Live Craft Eat on Lasso the Moon: Thankful Hearts – Sweet activity to help kids recognize others for their kindness

 

You can find more great ideas on my Random Acts of Kindness Pinterest board:



 

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Apr 212014
 
Below is the next installment in the popular series on Random Acts of Kindness. Each month, a blogger shares the random acts of kindness they have committed with their little ones. You can visit the Random Acts of Kindness page to see previous installments of this series. You can also follow the Random Acts of Kindness Pinterest Board. Today’s post comes to us from Jennifer of The Good Long Road, one of my favorite bloggers and a truly kind person who is making the world a better place.

 

Being Kind to the Environment and Each Other

 
 
I’m honored to be a part of this fabulous Random Acts of Kindness Series. I wanted to focus on Acts of Kindness inspired by Earth Day — acts that are kind to the Earth. Of course, there are the obvious things like picking up trash and recycling, but I also wanted to think creatively about being kind to nature/living things and connect that kindness to helping those around us. Here’s my Top 10 Creative Acts of Kindness for Earth Day!
  1. Help Someone De-Clutter – Offer to help an elderly neighbor sort through paper clutter and shred and recycle their excess paper for them. (Every time I would visit my grandmother, I inevitably ended up doing this — piles of old magazines, catalogs, newspapers and junk mail were everywhere!)
  2. Do Yard Work for a Friend or NeighborAt Pennies of Time, Sheila shared of how she and her two boys (at 6 and 4) weeded the yard of a friend who battles a chronic illness. Nurturing our environment through planting, weeding and gardening is a great way to help the Earth. Assisting others with green maintenance, who may struggle to do it for themselves, is a great way to RAK a friend!
  3. Organize a Recycling Project and Donate Funds from Bottles and Cans to Charity – Perhaps your school, community center, gym or a neighborhood gathering place lacks adequate or clear options for recycling bottles and cans. Set up proper containers to collect those items. Let kids make fun and colorful posters that make it clear that all funds raised from recycled items will go to charity. The Corner on Character shared a great book to encourage recycling and repurposing as well as activities to go with the book that would be great for a family or school. 
  4. Commit to a Birthday or Holiday limited to Thrift Sale/Yard Sale/Reused Gift Items Only – Our family began doing this at Christmas time when I was in High School, we could only give each other gifts that were purchased at resale or yard sales. I suspect much of the reason my parents did this was to save money and to remove pressure from a high school and college student who had little money of our own to get gifts for each other and our parents. It became a tradition that we loved – often keeping an eye out many months before for that “perfect” item. Shopping in this way reduces packaging waste and limits resources and pollution that are incurred when new goods are shipped around the world. 
  5. Walk, Bike or Bus to Work and School – On Earth Day, walk or bike or take a bus to school, work, the gym or the store instead of driving. See if you can commit to doing this once a week – swapping out driving with a more ecological mode of transportation. Perhaps one day will turn into two! If you’re a two-car family, you might discover you can manage with just one car – saving resources and money. (We’ve been a one car family in Southern California for years).
  6. RAK someone by giving them a reusable water bottle or coffee mug – Pick a coffee loving friend or teacher and have your children pick out a reusable coffee mug or iced coffee drink container to give them as a surprise RAK Gift! Or, if you know someone who often has a plastic bottle of water with them, RAK them with a reusable water bottle. 
  7. Visit your Local Farmer’s Market – Buying produce or other items (like goat cheese or honey) from a farmer at a local farmer’s market is a wonderful act of kindness for that farmer and for the Earth. Typically, items at farmer’s markets are often grown in much more sustainable ways than conventional produce. Plus, less resources are spent getting those items from Point A to Point B as almost every item sold at a Farmer’s Market will be locally grown. Farmer’s Markets also offer amazing opportunities for children to learn about fruits and vegetables. ALLterNATIVE Learning recently shared a great post about taking kids to the Farmer’s Market.
  8. Host a Local Food Party – Invite friends over for a unique dinner party – local food only. Ask each guest to bring one local food item. Again, buying locally is kind to the Earth because of the pollutants and resources that are saved because of minimal transport needs. Plus, breaking bread with friends is one of my favorite acts of kindness.
  9. Map Your Food – Kid World Citizen has a great post about mapping food and having kids learn about the world by seeing where their food is from. An activity like this also helps children learn how far some food can travel and is a great activity for Earth Day as you can extend it by talking about the resources (energy, oil, etc.) and resulting pollutants that are used in the process. It will help children (and yourself) understand the value of eating locally grown food when possible – or get them excited about growing food themselves. 
  10. Share Garden Goodies with Others – If you have a garden, put together a basket of locally grown food or a bouquet of flowers or herbs from your garden and share those goodies with a neighbor, perhaps someone who is housebound or on a limited income. By sharing your own locally grown items, you’ll brighten their day and are doing Mother Earth a favor too! (If you’re like me and you don’t have a garden, then pick up some extra items at the Farmer’s Market to give to a friend or neighbor). 
Jennifer is a mom of two, as well as an independent filmmaker who has taught filmmaking to youth, most notably with her Spotlight On Hope Film Camp, a free film camp for Pediatric Cancer patients. She writes about her experiences with Wild Thing and Caterpillar at The Good Long Road with an emphasis on mindfulness, imagination, and creative activities related to her toddler and preschooler’s favorite children’s books. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.
Random Acts of Kindness - Alldonemonkey.comYou can see a full schedule of the posts in this series by visiting the main Random Acts of Kindness Challenge page. You can also follow the Random Acts of Kindness Pinterest Board.


Mar 102014
 

Below is the next installment in the popular series on Random Acts of Kindness. Each month, a blogger shares the random acts of kindness they have committed with their little ones. You can visit the Random Acts of Kindness page to see previous installments of this series. You can also follow the Random Acts of Kindness Pinterest Board.  Today’s post comes to us from Emma of P is for Preschooler, a blogger whose work I am constantly pinning!   

Thank you notes ... just because: Random Acts of Kindness to share a smile! P is for Preschooler {Random Acts of Kindness} - Alldonemonkey.com

Sometimes it’s the littlest things that can make your day. A card from an old friend in the mail among a stack of bills, or a picture drawn by little hands tucked lovingly under your pillow. And everyone appreciates knowing that they’re appreciated.

Our simple act of kindness was merely to try to spread a smile and let others know we are happy to have them in our lives. I wanted Kay to be involved in the whole process, starting with who to make a card for – a thank you card, just because.

“You,” she said. Aww, love her. I asked who else she’d like to make one for, and she said Daddy.

Okay, set to work. I showed her how to draw and cut out a heart on a piece of paper folded in half. She tried a few times, but ended up frustrated, so eventually I drew it and she cut out the heart.

Thank you notes ... just because: Random Acts of Kindness to share a smile! P is for Preschooler {Random Acts of Kindness} - Alldonemonkey.com

Then I dictated her words, “I love when you take me everywhere.”

The the funnest part: decorating it!  She thought to add buttons herself and I went with it – her creation and all.

Thank you notes ... just because: Random Acts of Kindness to share a smile! P is for Preschooler {Random Acts of Kindness} - Alldonemonkey.com

When it was all dried, she proudly presented it to a surprised – and smiling – Daddy.

 We also made some happy heart faces and designs on heart shapes, to leave for someone who might need a smile.

Thank you notes ... just because: Random Acts of Kindness to share a smile! P is for Preschooler {Random Acts of Kindness} - Alldonemonkey.com

We left one in the mailbox for the mailman and gave one to the children’s librarian, too.

I loved that this was a fun way to show Kay how easy it can be to brighten someone’s day!

P is for PreschoolerEmma Craig is a stay-at-home mom to a 5-year-old girl who knows everything (or thinks she does!). Emma enjoys blogging about the things they do during the day to pass the time – and hopefully sneak in a little learning along the way – at P is for Preschooler. You can find more fun things to do with toddlers and preschoolers by following on Pinterest or Facebook!

 

 

Random Acts of Kindness - Alldonemonkey.comYou can see a full schedule of the posts in this series by visiting the main Random Acts of Kindness Challenge page. You can also follow the Random Acts of Kindness Pinterest Board.



Dec 092013
 

Below is the next installment in the popular series on Random Acts of Kindness. Each month, a blogger shares the random acts of kindness they have committed with their little ones. You can visit the Random Acts of Kindness page to see previous installments of this series. You can also follow the Random Acts of Kindness Pinterest Board.  Today’s post comes to us from the wonderful Megan Sheakoski of Coffee Cups and Crayons.

We love doing acts of kindness at Coffee Cups and Crayons and are so excited to participate in the Random Acts of Kindness series! We love spreading kindness to the people we see each day and made a bag of love for my youngest’s preschool teacher.

Act of Kindness for Kids--Give a bag of LOVE!

My 3 year loves going to preschool and is always telling us about her teachers. She wanted to make a present for her main teacher and began by decorating a bag for her.

Bag of Love Act of Kindness Activity

As she drew we talked about what she could put inside that would show her teacher how much she loved her. She decided to write all of the reasons she loved her and put them inside. I cut a bunch of paper hearts and she dictated what she wanted me to write on each one.

Bag of Love Kindness Activity for Kids

She put the hearts into a bag along with a little bit of candy and we stapled the top. Her teacher was surprised by the gift when we brought it in and loved reading all of the hearts my 3 year old had written. Making a bag of love was a simple little project that will make her teacher smile every time she reads the notes.

Getting kids involved in doing simple acts of kindness is a great way to show them how empowering helping others can be. You’re never too young to make a difference!

Megan Sheakoski Profile PicMegan Sheakoski is the creator of Coffee Cups and Crayons, a blog that shares fun and useful ideas for modern parents. She believes that small, intentional acts of kindness {and really good coffee!} can change the world. You can follow all of her learning activities, kids crafts, and party inspiration on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and G+.Coffee Cups and Crayons

Random Acts of Kindness - Alldonemonkey.comYou can see a full schedule of the posts in this series by visiting the main Random Acts of Kindness Challenge page. You can also follow the Random Acts of Kindness Pinterest Board.
Nov 112013
 
 November 11, 2013  Random Acts of Kindness 7 Responses »

Below is the next installment in the popular series on Random Acts of Kindness. Each month, a blogger shares the random acts of kindness they have committed with their little ones. You can visit the Random Acts of Kindness page to see previous installments of this series. You can also follow the Random Acts of Kindness Pinterest Board.

Today’s post comes to us from my friend Giselle Shardlow, author of Kids Yoga Stories.  Her yoga-inspired children’s books get children moving, learning, and having fun. Giselle draws from her experiences as a teacher, traveler, yogi, and mom to write her stories found at Kids Yoga Stories or on Amazon worldwide.

Acts of Kindness: Kids Yoga Stories - Random Acts of Kindness Series on Alldonemonkey.com

“Lokah Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu.”

I’ve been singing this Sanskrit chant to my daughter before bedtime since she was a newborn. It is a yogi prayer that translates to: “May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute to that happiness and that freedom for all.”

My daughter, who is two years old, has starting singing along with me. Her sweet singing warms my heart. I can’t help but wonder if she somehow understands the intention of the words.

As a mom, I’ve thought a lot about how to raise a kind and happy child. I have been focusing not only on our actions together but on kindness as a way of being. I’ve been asking myself how we can cultivate kindness into our everyday lives no matter where we are or what we are doing. I am inspired by the yogi prayer to foster kindness through what we think, say, and do.

Acts of Kindness through Thoughts, Words, and Actions:

Thoughts: Notice the negative thoughts that run around your “monkey mind.” Being a parent is an exceptionally challenging role. Add in the responsibilities of work, house, and family, and we often find ourselves being unkind to ourselves and the ones closest to us. One way to positively channel your thoughts is through a loving-kindness meditation. Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids has a lovely loving-kindness visualization story that you can read to your children.

Acts of Kindness: Kids Yoga Stores - Random Acts of Kindndess Series on Alldonemonkey.com

Loving Kindness story in the Imaginations book

The story takes the child through a series of questions that helps them focus on their own feelings and then encourages them to send loving kindness out to various people in their lives. Spiritual Survival in the City by Katie Spiers has a loving-kindness guide for adults. The meditation recommends starting by thinking of yourself as happy and healthy, then send loving kindness to a loved one, then someone you don’t know very well, next to someone who is a negative source in your life, and lastly to all living beings. Jack Kornfield also has a guide for a loving-kindness meditation on his website. He offers retreats and workshops around the United States.

Being kind starts with thoughts. Take time every day to cultivate positive thinking.

Words: Be aware of your language. It can be harsh, negative, or damaging, especially when you’re frustrated or feeling bad about yourself. Lashing out at family members is easy when you’re stressed or worried. Instead of getting angry, stop and take a deep breath. Breathe regularly and allow your breath to calm your emotions. Then be kind to yourself and others by saying something positive and constructive.

Make a habit of expressing kindness with your family every day. For example, you might have a ritual at dinnertime where each family member expresses what he or she is grateful. Or each person might say something kind about another person. You could also write in a gratitude or kindness family journal. Or post a whiteboard in your kitchen with kind thoughts for each day. We are our children’s best role models. They watch us as we say thank you, give compliments, make phone calls to loved ones overseas, or chat with close friends. Our words create our world. Help your children express their kindness and compassion through language.

Acts of Kindness: Kids Yoga Stores - Random Acts of Kindndess Series on Alldonemonkey.com

My husband and daughter bonding by the river

Actions: Have you ever noticed that when you do something kind for another, it comes back to you tenfold? Kindness seems to attract more kindness. Acts of kindness can be directed at ourselves, others around us, or our natural surroundings. For example, here are Fifteen Acts of Kindness to inspire you, including giving yourself some “me” time, sending thank you cards, and committing to earth-friendly practices.

Once you have talked to your children about their kind thoughts and words, their acts of kindness come from a positive foundation. Some children may feel awkward or as if they were forced to engage in service projects. If we talk to them about the purpose of those projects and how their actions make a difference, then they can begin to understand why volunteering plays a big role in our society. Their acts of kindness can be practiced throughout the year, not just at Thanksgiving or Christmas. Though doing service projects with your children during festive times is an excellent way to introduce them to projects that bring a greater good.

And random acts of kindness are often the most fun and free-spirited ones. Children are spontaneous creatures, and starting them out with random kindness might entice them to do more. Encourage them to hold open a door for someone, thank a police officer or veteran, or buy flowers for a neighbor. Sometimes, being kind needs no preparations at all. Keep your eyes and hearts open for opportunities for kindness all around.

Acts of Kindness: Kids Yoga Stories - Random Acts of Kindness Series on Alldonemonkey.com

Our daughter helping to clean the dishes

How can you bring kindness into your life today through your thoughts, words, or actions?

“People ask me what my religion is. I tell them, “My religion is kindness.”
Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama.
Kids Yoga Stories

Check out Anna and her Rainbow-Colored Yoga Mats, a yoga story about friendship, happiness, and acceptance. It is also available in eBook format for your holiday travels. Giselle Shardlow

Get details and free kids yoga resources in your inbox by signing up for Giselle’s weekly Kids Yoga Stories Newsletter on her website, or check her out on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

 

Random Acts of Kindness - Alldonemonkey.comYou can see a full schedule of the posts in this series by visiting the main Random Acts of Kindness Challenge page. You can also follow the Random Acts of Kindness Pinterest Board.
Aug 222013
 

Below is the next installment in the popular series on Random Acts of Kindness. Each month, a blogger shares the random acts of kindness they have committed with their little ones. You can visit the Random Acts of Kindness page to see previous installments of this series. You can also follow the Random Acts of Kindness Pinterest Board.

Today’s post comes to us from my friend Chelsea of Moments a Day.  Her blog is full of wonderful ideas to build children’s characters in ways that are both inspiring and practical.

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Leanna’s Random Acts of Kindness series since it started up last year.  It is so inspiring to see what mothers are doing with their children to spread kindness in their families, communities, and throughout the world.

Over the past month, my family has done several kindness inspired activities which have given me several insights.

Here were some of the highlights:

(Feel free to click on the photo to go to a full post about the activity!)

We brainstormed all the ways we could be kind, found photographs to represent the ideas, and then created a Kindness Corner in our home.

Teaching Kindness {Random Acts of Kindness Series} - Moments A Day on Alldonemonkey.com

We played a drawing game to think about how using kind (and unkind) voices makes people feel.

Teaching Kindness {Random Acts of Kindness Series} - Moments A Day on Alldonemonkey.com

We went to the mall and gave a little gift to random children to brighten their day.

Teaching Kindness {Random Acts of Kindness Series} - Moments a Day on Alldonemonkey.com

While tackling these projects and thinking so much about kindness, I began to reflect more on how exactly I am modeling kindness to my children.  Here are some of the questions I asked myself:

Am I speaking and making requests with a kind tone?
Am I treating my husband with kindness?
Am I being compassionate when my children are struggling?
Am I being kind to myself when I am having challenges?

I have realized that, while kindness seems like such a simple idea, it is actually a very in depth concept which can affect every single action of the day.  The effects of kindness are limitless.

These reflections have helped me try to recognize and encourage acts of kindness in our home more often, to bring a more positive and kind attitude to my role as a mom.

Teaching Kindess {Random Acts of Kindness Series} - Moments a Day on Alldonemonkey.com

Even though the actions I see may not be *huge* on their own, they are affecting all the people in my home… who then go out and spread kindness to others… who then spread kindness to others… and the acts of kindness go on and on.  This makes me feel even more inspired to celebrate the little acts I see every day.

I hope that through the coming seasons of motherhood I can learn to incorporate more acts of kindness into our daily and yearly routines, and that some of our projects can grow in complexity as my children become older and choose for themselves what actions they would like to take to spread kindness in our community.  I’m very thankful for all the ideas being shared, and I look forward to learning more through experience and reading about others’ experiences as well.

By simply talking about and sharing ideas, we are all bring a little more kindness into the world!

Moments a DayChelsea is a mom of two young boys and blogs at Moments a Day sharing activities, ideas, and resources for families to connect and build character.  She believes in using small moments throughout the day to help children learn how to use their head, heart, and hands to make the world a better place.  Join her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter to stay in touch.

Note: There are many stories of kindness going around the blogosphere.  Sheila from Pennies of Time recently put out an amazing compilation of blogs that try to make a difference in the world (which both All Done Monkey and Moments A Day are featured in!) which you can find here.

Pennies of Time - Bloggers Who Inspire the World to Help Others

If you are looking for even more ways to spread kindness in the world, you may find some inspiring projects and ideas there.

Random Acts of Kindness - Alldonemonkey.comYou can see a full schedule of the posts in this series by visiting the main Random Acts of Kindness Challenge page. You can also follow the Random Acts of Kindness Pinterest Board.
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