How to be kind

How to be kind

How to be kind

Silvia has been teaching happiness, global awareness, & joyful living for 20 years. She has devoted her life to inspiring others to be themselves through kick-ass spirituality.
View more

You don’t need a reason to help people. Let’s remember to be kind to one another, as it isn’t always apparent on the outside what the struggles we may be facing are on the inside. After all, when this is all over, all that will really matter is how we treated each other.

When we enter this world, our Kindness IQ is intact. We can keep it that way through our actions. Kindness is like a muscle; it gets stronger the more you use it, or atrophies if you don’t.

That’s not to say that some things and some people won’t test your patience. Being a kind human can sometimes be challenging! Meditation is a great way to slow down your day and take stock when you’re not feeling as kind and generous as you could. Practice being kind to yourself first with this free 30 Day Meditation Challenge. It will help you cultivate kindness for yourself, so you can then pass the good vibes onto someone else!

You don’t need a reason to be kind to people. Instead, here are 25 suggestions and ideas of ways to be kind.

1. Smile and make someone’s day a little sweeter.

2. Look for ways you can promote peace.

3. Just listen.

4. Offer a hug or embrace.

5. Invite someone new into your friend tribe.

6. Send out a kind email or card.

7. Give someone a genuine compliment.

8. Help clean up, without being asked, help someone out in a practical way.

9. Hold open the door for the person behind you.

10. Encourage a friend or family member when they are uncertain or unmotivated.

11. Make peace with someone that has hurt you.

12. Strike up a conversation with a stranger.

13. Let someone into your lane while driving.

14. Pay for the person behind you in line.

15. Give your time to a friend or someone who needs it.

16. Say Thank You and Please everyday without fail.

17. Meditate on loving kindness: “May you be happy, healthy, peaceful, and free from suffering, and may my actions in some way contribute to the happiness, health, peace, and freedom for all.

18. Say “I love you” a little more often to your family and friends.

19. Pause before you speak, and choose words with positive intention.

20. Help someone get some rest (watch their kids, run an errand, bring them dinner, etc).

21. Pick up litter you see thrown about even if its not yours.

22. Remove complaints and curses for one week.

23. Gift something meaningful to someone: loan a book, bring flowers, drop off cookies, whatever suits your fancy.

24. Make a donation.

25. Give up your seat, or for that matter, move your yoga mat in class, with positive intent.

I am dedicating myself to inspire everyone to bring kindness to the forefront. Let’s be more active in our efforts not because we have to, but because we want to. And not even because others have been kind to us but because being nice is the way of the heart.

Kindness is always a choice. The more conditioned we are to respond with kindness, the more natural it becomes. It is on purpose with purpose. Today, join me in starting a kindness movement, and together we can raise our global Kindness IQ!

Which ways do you try to show kindness every day? Share your tips and tricks with us below!

How to be kind

Silvia has been teaching happiness, global awareness, & joyful living for 20 years. She has devoted her life to inspiring others to be themselves through kick-ass spirituality.

How to be kind

Do you find it challenging to be kind? Maybe in certain circumstances compared to others? When we express authentic kindness to a friend, co-worker or even stranger, we project that version of ourselves that others will likely remember. Think about how it felt the last time you received a kind gesture. Then, think about how amazing it would be if the feeling was spread the world over.

Here are 10 ways to be more kind:

1. When you believe in someone, tell them directly. Convey your support to them.

Let’s say we all supported and believed in the ability of our friends and family to do amazing things. Put another way, think about how your support could drive even one person to achieve things greater than themselves. Imagine how much the world could benefit. Quite simply, a lot more.

2. Consider kindness before you speak.

When we may have something in our minds to say about someone and it isn’t kind, remember to choose kindness before speaking. It is not a sign of weakness to choose kindness. It is a sign of heart.

3. Spread kindness that you have received.

When we receive kindness, we may feel special about ourselves. If you can, in some way or another, continue to spread the kindness that you have received. It would be a great way to pay it forward.

4. Be mindful of how you treat others.

Considering our closest relationships, as well as our acquaintances and others who we don’t see regularly, it is important to be mindful of how we treat others because of the impact it can have. Truly being considerate can go a long way with many friendships and relationships.

5. Don’t discriminate who to be kind to.

As we all know, each of us is facing a challenge, whether seen or unseen. Don’t discriminate who to be kind to, despite differences.

6. Set an example.

What better of a role model to someone else than someone who is frankly, always kind. Try to set an example. Without role models who are kind, there would be less kindness to spread around.

7. Practice good intentions.

When you say something nice to someone else, remember your intention counts as well. Try to carry good intentions with displays of kindness. Kindness and good intention usually come hand in hand, but in the few cases where they could not be aligned, try to practice good intentions, like not expecting anything in return for your gesture or compliment.

8. Feel good about it.

If you have a tougher time showing kindness, try and remember to feel good about showing this side of you. When you feel good, the act will come more regularly and spread more positivity within you.

9. Reach out when it is less likely others will.

If you feel like an act of kindness might be going against the grain, try to be the first to show the niceness. It will likely be as rewarding in return.

10. Try to be kind every day.

When in doubt, be kind as often as possible, hopefully every day so that you can reap the rewards in terms of your quality of relationships and just pure satisfaction that you have spread joy to another person’s life.

In all, try these 10 ways to be more kind. No doubt you might still have difficulties or challenges that come your way, but with the joy of spreading kindness, your mind and heart can benefit and you can feel satisfied more often. Enjoy!

How to be kind
Image: / CC BY-SA 2.0

“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”
Henry James

“Be kind to unkind people – they need it the most.”
Ashleigh Brilliant

“Kind words are short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”
Mother Teresa

This is a short guide to being a kinder person. It’s not always easy though and I focus on being more consistent rather than trying to be perfect.

But why even make the effort to be kinder? What’s the point? Why not just go about things as you usually do?

Three reasons pop up in my mind.

  • By being kinder to others you tend to be kinder towards yourself. Perhaps a bit counter intuitive but this has been my experience.
  • You get what you give. Yes, some people will be miserable and ungrateful no matter what you do for or to them. But most people will over time treat you as you treat them. Unfortunately, a lot of people will not take the first step. So if you want a change in your life you have to take responsibility for it and make those first moves. Sitting around waiting for someone else to do them could take the rest of your life.
  • It makes your world and the world all in all a nicer place to live in.

So that’s the why. Here is the how to.

  1. Be grateful for what you got. It’s very easy to take yourself, your life and the people around you for granted. Avoid that by using two minutes from time to time for reflecting on what you can be grateful for. Or write it down each day in a gratitude journal.
  2. Express it. Don’t hold in what you are grateful for. Say it. It may be that you are happy to have brought an umbrella on a rainy day. Or just a small thing such as saying thanks to someone for holding your books for a minute. But even such small expressions of gratitude can make your or someone else’s day better.
  3. Minimize judgments. No one likes to be judged. And the more you judge people the more you tend to judge yourself. So it’s a lose-lose situation.
  4. Take it easy with the criticism. Constructive criticism has its place. But too much of that or criticism that won’t help anyone just makes people feel and perform worse. Try encouraging them instead. It makes work and the people involved – including you – easier to deal with and more fun.
  5. Try to understand the other side. It’s easy to stick to your point of view. But you can gain powerful insights about the other person and yourself too by trying to understand their point of view. This also tends to decrease harshness and negativity and can make it easier to reach an understanding where both parties feel more satisfied with the solution.
  6. Make positive observations about people. This is pretty similar to being grateful for what you got but a habit I like to keep in mind and use. Replace the habit of spotting the things that annoy you about people with one where you make small or big positive observations about them. It could be their great sense of style when it comes to shoes, how they always make you laugh when you need it or simply that they are always on time. Be sure to tell them that.
  7. Remember the small and kind gestures. Let someone in into your lane while driving your car. And hold up the door for the next person.
  8. Remind yourself. It’s easy to forget. Use whiteboards, your cell phone, post-its and other reminders in your daily environment.
  9. Awash yourself in the positive memories of the times when you were kind. When you remind yourself how good it felt to be kind and how you helped someone out and made them feel good too it becomes easier and easier to stay kind instead of questioning the habit.
  10. Take the smarter and higher road. Don’t be someone the people can walk all over, set boundaries and say no when needed. But recognize that unnecessary conflicts just waste your time and energy. And that some people are so addicted to the drama and conflicts that you will never win or reach an understanding between the two of you. There are more fun and good things to spend time on in your life. So try to reach an understanding in a kind sort of way. But if it doesn’t work then remove yourself from getting drawn into their conflicts and make the day better for both you and possibly them.
  11. Be kind to yourself. It’s OK and something that a lot of people don’t do enough. And it seeps over into your world and how you treat others just like how being kind to others seeps back into how you treat yourself.

If you found this article helpful, please share it with someone on Stumbleupon and Twitter. Thank you very much! =)

Free Exclusive Happiness Tips

Join the 80,000 people that subscribe to the Positivity Newsletter and you’ll get practical tips on happiness, self-esteem, productivity and more each week.

You’ll also get these three guides for free:

  • 21 Things I Wish They Had Taught Me in School.
  • 7 Steps to Stop Being So Lazy.
  • 10 Things You Can Do When Life Sucks.

100% privacy and no spam. You can unsubscribe anytime.

How to Be Kind to Yourself & Still Get Stuff Done

By Leo Babauta

I’ve found that there are two profound changes that almost any of of us can make:

  1. Become kinder to ourselves
  2. Build trust in ourselves

Unfortunately, because we don’t really trust ourselves, we’re very rarely kind to ourselves.

When I ask people to start being kind to themselves, they usually come back at some point with this dilemma:

“But if I’m too kind to myself, I won’t get anything done!”

This is the fear, when people start being kind to themselves — that they’ll be too soft, they won’t get stuff done, they’ll let themselves off the hook too easily, they’ll just lie around doing nothing.

It’s an understandable fear — if you have had times when you procrastinated, you probably worry about this.

Let’s talk about why kindness to self is so important, how to do it, and how to still get stuff done even when you’re kind to yourself.

Why Kindness to Self is So Damned Important

Most of us are not very kind to ourselves. We often do things like:

  • Come down hard on ourselves when we don’t meet our expectations.
  • Let ourselves off the hook for doing something and then feel terrible about ourselves.
  • Let others down and then beat ourselves up for doing so.
  • Look at our flaws and see them as ugly, huge shortcomings, reasons why we are falling short.
  • Harshly push ourselves to be better, to do better, judging ourselves as inadequate so far.

These are just some of the common examples — the truth is, most of us are judging ourselves, beating ourselves up, looking harshly at our shortcomings and flaws, a lot of the time. It’s why we’re stressed, anxious, frustrated and disappointed so often.

A different path might be kindness to ourselves. When we see a flaw, we might see the beauty in it. Instead of always striving to be better, we can find gratitude for how great we already are. Instead of beating ourselves up, we can be kind to ourselves and see that we have tried our best, that we had good intentions, that we have a good heart.

Kindness to ourselves, always.

This would transform our relationship to ourselves. It would remove barriers that we face right now, including:

  1. If you aren’t harsh on yourself for missing a few days of a habit, you’ll just start again without making a big deal of it.
  2. If you aren’t harsh on yourself for failing at something, you won’t be afraid of it, and learning and growth will become easier. You can write, start a business, code, take online courses, start a new activity, without all the burden of self-harshness and fear of failure.
  3. If you aren’t constantly focusing on your flaws, you’ll start to feel more whole. This would change how you show up in the world, how you feel about life, and how you relate to others.

Those are just a few examples, but I’ve found that almost all of our barriers are self-imposed — we are harsh on ourselves, and it makes everything much more difficult.

Kindness to ourselves lessens barriers and anxiety and so much struggle.

How to Practice Kindness to Yourself

The practice is actually fairly simple. In all cases, you find a way to be kind to yourself. Kindness is something most of us already know how to do, because we have done it with others. We can be kind to a loved one, a stranger, a friend, a neighbor. We just need to try it with ourselves.

So here’s the rule: kindness to yourself, always. Even when you fail at the rule, be kind to yourself for failing to be kind.

Some ways to be kind to yourself:

  • When you mess something up, give yourself compassion (the feeling of compassion in your heart, wishing yourself happiness), letting it sooth your pain.
  • See the good heart in yourself, whenever you feel you fell short or let others down. See the good intentions, whenever you make a mess of things. See that you are basically a good person.
  • When you look at your flaws (“ugh, I hate my belly”), see the beauty in them. Find gratitude for what you do have, instead of focusing on what you don’t have or don’t like. For example, isn’t it amazing to have a body? I love that I have a body that can move, breathe, see sunlight and trees, hear music and laughter, feel sun on my skin and grass under my feet. What a wonder, and we take it for granted.

See your goodness. Be grateful for yourself. Love your good heart. Be compassionate with yourself when you’re hurting.

How to Still Get Stuff Done, Even When You’re Kind to Yourself

OK, so we’re being kind to ourselves, all the time. What about the fear of not getting things done?

In truth, I’ve never found this to be a problem, if you’re being kind to yourself. I’ve never met someone who is kind to themselves and then doesn’t do anything worthwhile.

From this place of kindness, you do amazing things because it’s the kind and loving thing to do for yourself and others.

But if you’d like more details on getting stuff done with self-kindness, here are some things you can play with:

  1. Do good things because they are ways to love yourself. When we do positive habits like exercise, eating well, meditation, journaling, finding focus, etc. … these aren’t to become better people. They are ways to be loving towards ourselves. So these good habits are forms of self-kindness.
  2. Stop doing harmful things because that’s the kind way. When you’ve done things that are harmful to yourself (let’s say binging on junk food for a week), you don’t have to be harsh on yourself that you did it — you can be kind and loving. But you can also be clear that this wasn’t a helpful thing to do to yourself, without judging yourself. Just be clear that it’s not what you’d like to do going forward. Then do your best to not keep harming yourself. This will be a constant navigation — try to do loving, non-harmful things for yourself going forward, but being kind to yourself if you mess up. You can do both.
  3. Become bigger than yourself. In addition to doing loving things for yourself and trying not to harm yourself too much … you can also look beyond yourself. Self-kindness is such an important place to start, but there is more — what can you do that is kind and loving for others as well? Can you see their concerns, feel their pain and struggle, and become bigger than your self-concern and serve them as well? This doesn’t exclude taking care of yourself, but it means after you’ve taken care of yourself, you can look to something bigger. That’s where you’ll find the most meaning. And it’s where you’ll find the most drive to get things done, because doing something bigger than yourself is incredibly powerful.

So a big part of this is to be kind about how your past self has acted, be kind about how you see your present self, and then take kind actions going forward. And take actions that are loving towards others as well, not only focused on yourself.

Try these ideas and see how they change your life.

. even when you don’t agree with others.

Posted Dec 06, 2016

In these times of difficult political discourse, with friends “un-friending” each other on Facebook, people are taking the chance to say nasty things in public to people they barely know, and discussions are often personal and mean.

Perhaps it’s time to revisit the lost art of empathy.

One interesting study showed that empathy could in fact be learned, and that you can be empathetic to someone you barely know. The study showed that in fact it took only a few positive experiences to become empathetic. This could be good news for people who are sure they’ve become jaded and negative.

How to be kind

If everyone could practice a bit of empathy each day, imagine the possibilities for building bridges and finding solutions? But while empathy is at least as old as the Golden Rule, people don’t always put it into practice. Life gets busy and rushed. There is so much stress, and the person driving in front of you who won’t go faster is an impediment to getting to your destination, isn’t he? We often see others as the problem—the root of our troubles—instead of as an individual person who is probably dealing with as many difficulties in that given moment as we are.

There are many reasons to practice empathy and kindness. (This article does a nice job of outlining the benefits.) Let’s consider some of the ways you can move away from negative frustration toward more positive actions and interactions:

    Recognize that your self-talk can be the fuel on a raging negative fire.

Consider how you react to the news. Do you begin to think about “those people” who are wealthier, or poorer, or uneducated, or overeducated? Whatever your personal concern may be, do you ruminate over the people “out there” who can or want to hurt you in some way? Notice your thoughts—and then choose to stop. That’s right: You can actually choose to stop a negative onslaught of thoughts, and turn it around. The first step is to catch yourself doing it.
Have a plan for positive action.

Is there a poem or song that makes you happy? Can you list three things about your life that you savor? Are there people in your world that you care about, whom you could call and (positively) talk with about something? Have a positive preparedness plan to put in action.
Learn to be objective.

Every new source has its own slant: You could read four articles about the same subject and come away with four different interpretations. Instead of getting outraged or upset, consider that you might not be getting all of the information, and that there are probably things you don’t know. Be well-read, but don’t allow what you read to fuel your negativity.
Walk away from negative thoughts and negative people.

You can catch your own negative thoughts and turn your attention elsewhere, but what if you are surrounded by negative people who want to draw you back in to the scrum? Consider that it is sometimes best to physically remove yourself from the situation. Just leave the room. Go for a walk. Exercise by yourself. Sometimes separation is the key to becoming more objective and calmer in the face of upset.
Do something nice for someone, even if you think they don’t deserve it.

The ultimate empathetic move is to be nice even when someone isn’t being nice to you. Compliment them. Give your attention to them. Send them a card noting something you truly like about them. Everyone is in pain of one sort or another, and if you can see through the hard wall to the pain underneath and respond to the person there, you will unlock the key to being kind and empathetic.

This post contains affiliate links. If you click and buy we may make a commission, at no additional charge to you. Please see our disclosure policy for more details.

Sharing is Caring!

  • Twitter
  • Facebook 37
  • Pinterest 231
  • Email

I remember when I first be came a parent I was asked, “What do you hope for the most for your child?”

The answer was simple… “I want him to be kind and good.”

15 years, and 5 kids later I still want my kids to be kind and good.

Teaching our kids to be kind is becoming increasingly more difficult as the years pass. The world changes, kids change, and it seems it is harder to teach our kids to be kind.

We now not only have to teach them to be kind in person but also on the Internet. H ow do we teach our kids to be kind?

How to be kind

Teaching Kids to Be Kind

Teaching kids to be kind is not always easy, but there are some easy steps we can take to help them to learn to be a little kinder.

Lead By Example

How to be kind

The first thing we can do is lead by example and be kind to others.

When we are out and about smile at others, say hello, hold the door open for people, say please and thank you.

As we modeling kindness our kids will naturally want to be kind just like us.

Limit Teasing

How to be kind

Teasing always seems like such a harmless thing to do, but we must be careful when teasing. While families may love to tease each other, sometimes we need to be careful becau se some kids don’t understand it.

If your child cries or leaves the room when you tease them, then they may be feeling degraded or unsure of themselves. Teach kindness by being kind to each other and find other ways to have fun and be playful with one another, without teasing.

Teach Kids to Help One Another

How to be kind

To encourage kid kindness it is important to teach them to help one another, even with the smallest acts of kindness. These simple acts go a long way.

Explain to your child why you held the door open for someone else or why you helped someone with their groceries at the grocery store.

Explain that you were being kind by being helpful and explain why it is good to give even when you may not receive a thank you in return.

These random acts of kindness may be just what your child needs to see so they can emulate that behavior and be kind to others they meet.

Encourage Kindness

How to be kind

The last thing we can do is to encourage kindness through random acts of kindness activities. We have compiled 50 kindness activities for kids to help them practice being kind to others.

50 Ways for Kids to Be Kind

We are sharing 50 ways for kids to be kind that are easy to do and come naturally after a little while.

  1. The simple act of saying please and thank you.
  2. Point out when someone’s shoe is untied, or their backpack zipper is open.
  3. Greet your neighbors when you see them.
  4. Say hello to a classmate you don’t normally talk to
  5. Donate to your classroom library, books that you no longer read but are in good condition.
  6. Support brands that are supportive. We love Kind Snacks for this reason for their social impact and economic sustainability. #kindawesome.
  7. Print off a fun puzzle for a friend to do when they are home sick from school.
  8. Invite a schoolmate to sit on their own to join in your game.
  9. Say something nice about someone, just because.
  10. Write a small note of thanks for someone who has done you a favor.
  11. Wash the dishes or take out the garbage at home without being asked.
  12. Let your brother or sister choose the TV show to watch with the family on Friday night.
  13. Draw a picture with sidewalk chalk on the sidewalk that will brighten other people’s day.
  14. Speak up for someone that others aren’t being kind to at school.
  15. Read a story to someone who has read a story to you.
  16. Write a note to a distant relative and send it in the mail.
  17. Keep a journal and write a happy thought in it every night before bed.
  18. Bake cookies for your teacher.
  19. Wave at kids driving by on a school bus.
  20. Donate toys you no longer use to a local shelter.
  21. Thank your teacher for being patient teaching the class today.
  22. Smile at everyone.
  23. Pick up some additional food items when grocery shopping and donate to the food bank.
  24. Sit next to someone you don’t normally eat lunch with.
  25. Tell your sister/brother that you love her/him.
  26. Count to 10 in your head to avoid yelling at someone when you get angry.
  27. Ask mom/dad how her/his day went.
  28. Pick-up litter you find outside, around your house.
  29. Make an easy bird feeder to welcome birds in your yard.
  30. Forgive someone who did something you didn’t like.
  31. Hold the door for someone.
  32. Share a riddle with a fellow kid (or adult!) to cheer them up.
  33. Leave the mail carrier a thank you note.
  34. Carry an extra granola bar or Kind Snack with you to give to a homeless person you pass.
  35. Clean your room without being asked.
  36. Use kind words when speaking to others.
  37. Leave coloring books and crayons in your doctor’s waiting area for other kids to use.
  38. Volunteer at your local Humane Society to spend time socializing with the animals waiting for their new forever home.
  39. Send postcards or letters to veterans thanking them for their service.
  40. Give positive feedback in class when someone is making a presentation.
  41. Donate to the local hospital, family-friendly DVD movies or TV shows you don’t watch anymore.
  42. Rake leaves or shovel snow for an elderly neighbor.
  43. Leave kindness rocks in the park or playground.
  44. Start a compliment jar or positive memory jar for your family.
  45. Make a meditation chain for your daily positive thoughts.
  46. Start a Little Free Library outside of your house.
  47. Bring school supplies with you on your next family vacation as part of the Pack for Purpose initiative.
  48. Encourage your school to acknowledge those who are kind through simple award certificates or school announcements.
  49. Get out of bed on a school day when your parents wake you, without complaining.
  50. Give those people you care about a hug, right now.

These 50 ways for kids to be kind are so easy to do! I love teaching kids to be kind is simple and has such a positive ripple effect. Your kids can actively impact their future by encouraging kindness.

As we continue teaching kids to be kind we are making the world a better place. One random act of kindness at a ti me!

If you happen to see an act of kindness, don’t forget to send them a #kindaweseome card, a great initiative to encourage others to pass it on. What are some other ways for kids to be kind? Share ways you are teaching kids to be kind in the comments!

“Of course. I’d love to help out!” you say.

You whip out your calendar and add another thing to your already too long to-do list. You really don’t mind helping with the kids’ school fundraiser. After all you just adore their teachers so this is the least you can do. Right?

Somehow you’ll pull it off. The kids really do need computers in their classrooms. You just have to switch some things around. But what? You already get up at the crack of dawn to get things done before everyone wakes up and then stay up late making sure everyone has clean clothes and you haven’t forgotten to respond to any work emails.

Maybe you can cut out exercising. No wait, you cut that out last year to make time for tutoring. Or was that baseball? Either way that slot is already taken. Have you even eaten yet today? You’ll just have to work a little faster and sleep a little less this week. Bring on the coffee.

Swap out the details for the ones on your to-do list and I’m guessing you can relate to this scenario.

Now fast forward 30 years. Picture yourself as a grandmother watching your child have that very same day. Instead of you staying up late to make sure it all gets done, it’s your child burning the candle at both ends. Wouldn’t you tell her to pause, regroup, and do something nice for herself sometimes too?

Or is this the idea of kindness you want your kids to internalize? That good moms are martyrs who don’t need sleep.

Wouldn’t you want her to know that being kind to yourself is just as important as being kind to others?

How to be kind

Be kind to yourself.

Maybe for you it’s not a lack of taking time for yourself. Maybe it’s negative self-talk, too little sleep, or too much junk food. Maybe it’s even a favorite hobby you’ve given up for the sake of getting more done.

Being kind to yourself doesn’t take away from being able to do for others. In fact the opposite is true. Taking the time to be kind to yourself fills you up to be able to do for others. It makes your life happier. And happier moms are always a good thing.

Being Kind to Yourself Kindness Challenge

So far in the 100 acts of kindness project we’ve been focusing on all the things we can do for others, but now we’re going to shake things up a little bit.

We are challenging you to brainstorm 5 ways you can be kind to yourself and complete at least one this week.

Yep. You and your kids are actually going to have to do something good for yourselves for this challenge!

Tips for Encouraging Kids to Be Kind to Themselves

The story earlier illustrated how moms don’t always take the time to be kind to themselves on a regular basis, but kids need to learn to be kind to themselves too. Not in the eat-more-candy-for-lunch kind of way. In the I-can-make-my-day-better-for-myself kind of way.

In some ways figuring out how to be kind to yourself is trickier for kids than it is for adults. Encourage them to really think about things that help fill them up inside, not just 5 fun things they like. Talk aloud things you’ve noticed to help them start thinking in the right direction. Say things like, “I notice how happy and peaceful you get after you are coloring.” Or “dancing really brings a smile to your face.”

Older kids may struggle with this even more. Life gets pretty busy for kids and they may not know at first what they can do to be kind to themselves. Give them a day or two to brainstorm and “try out” some ideas to see what resonates.

How to be kind

25 Ways to Be Kind to Yourself

  1. Read a book.
  2. Call a friend you haven’t talked to in awhile.
  3. Draw or paint.
  4. Get active.
  5. Splurge on healthy food.
  6. Try something new.
  7. Get up and dance.
  8. Go for a walk with a friend.
  9. Sleep.
  10. Keep a journal.
  11. Meditate.
  12. Eat your favorite meal for dinner.
  13. Let it go to voicemail.
  14. Say no to the next fundraiser.
  15. Ask your family to tell you 5 things they each love about you.
  16. Forgive yourself.
  17. Eat breakfast
  18. Take a break.
  19. Listen to your favorite music.
  20. Share a success.
  21. Color.
  22. Unsubscribe from all those emails.
  23. Get a pedicure.
  24. Say no to toxic relationships and friendships.
  25. Eat the dessert.

Or whatever works for YOU! Remember this isn’t about what you “should” do or what “sounds” good to someone else. It’s about placing a priority on you and what fills you up inside.

And setting a great example for your kids in the process.

How will you be kind to yourself this week? If you are feeling brave enough to share I’d love to hear it. Comment below and inspire others to make time to be kind to themselves too!

About Megan Sheakoski

Megan is the creator of Coffee Cups and Crayons, a blog full of simple fun and learning. She believes that kids’ activities don’t have to be complicated to be fun and that learning is better with play.


Nancy Maglio says

This is so basic. Why do I push myself to exhaustion… and then wind up eating too much to keep going? Right now I am run-down from all the over-functioning. And for what? I can barely do the basics. For me it’s about regularly rejecting this culture’s obsession with more, more, more! I’m not a consumer junkie but I need to stop- and take care of myself- when my body says to. Not always, there are some things I can’t walk away from but being tired all the time is a sign that I’m out of balance. And it feels horrible!

How to be kind

Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox

How to be kind

The maxim “Do Unto Others” holds secrets far beyond the Golden Rule. Demonstrating kindness has actually been shown to create a number of benefits, including happier lives, reduced stress and healthier bodies.

In a study, Kathleen Lawler of the University of Tennessee and Rachel Piferi of Johns Hopkins University reported lowered blood pressure in people who gave social support to others. “Participants with a higher tendency to give social support reported receiving greater social support, greater self-efficacy and self-esteem, less depression and less stress.”

In addition, the body reacts to kindness chemically by elevating its endogenous opioids that in turn create elevated levels of dopamine in the brain that create a natural high. The oxytocin we produce when socially bonding also reduces inflammation in our cardiovascular system, slowing aging and generating stronger heart health.

To fully enjoy the benefits, here are eight ways to add kindness to your daily life.

1. Decide to be kind.

Each morning, tell yourself that you will focus on being kind. Set your mind and body toward that goal and it will soon become a habit.

2. Increase your awareness.

Start noticing kindness; it’s all around you, if you just look for it. Many of us go through our days with our heads down (often buried in our electronic devices). Raise your awareness level of others around you and you will begin to notice the kindness of others.

3. Be appreciative.

If someone shows you a kindness, no matter how small, appreciate it. Instead of brushing it off or saying “you didn’t have to do that,” simply say “thank you.” The act of giving provides immense pleasure, so don’t minimize the other person’s enjoyment of their decision to be kind to you.

4. Look for opportunities to be kind.

Something as simple as a compliment or paying attention in a conversation are kind gestures. So are volunteering to help someone in need. Some people channel their kindness efforts into charitable causes; others make it a point to perform at least one act of kindness every day as they progress through the day. Choose the goodwill channel that makes you feel good.

5. Smile.

Smiling not only creates good feelings within yourself, it cheers others. Be sure to give a true smile, and not a fake one. One of the best ways to make your smile more genuine and real comes from researcher Andrew Newberg: “We just asked a person, before they engage in a conversation with someone else to visualize someone they deeply love, or recall an event that brought them deep satisfaction and joy.”

6. Be kind to yourself.

We’re often too hard on ourselves, and we don’t need to be. You, too, deserve the kindness you may only reserve for those around you. Treat your mind by giving yourself a break, and your body with healthy delights like a massage.

7. Be kind to the people closest to you.

So often we take for granted the people who are closest to us, snapping at them, or not truly listening. Whenever you lose your temper, apologize immediately. Forgive and make amends with those you haven’t spoken to in years. At least you will feel lighter knowing you did the right thing. Start to notice how your kindness can make others glow with affection toward you and notice how your indifference can create distance.

8. Keep a kindness journal.

At the end of the day, reflect on all the kindnesses you’ve shared and those you’ve received. Jot them down in a journal. You might be surprised just how many times you made an effort. As an additional exercise, write down those missed opportunities where you could have been kind—or kinder.

Kindness is contagious and that little act of graciousness you provide to someone else will most likely spread to others in a “pay it forward” way.