12 Ways Your Child Can Bring A Smile To Someone
Making others happy is a wonderful thing to do. Let your child feel the joy and fulfillment of spreading smiles. We help you get started, with this list of thoughtful gestures for your kids to try!
By Ashwin Dewan
"A warm smile is the universal language of kindness." - William Arthur Ward, Author
Jennifer, mother of Patrick, cannot stop smiling. Last week, on her way home from work, her neighbour called out to her and gave her a big smile. The elderly lady was full of gratitude as she explained how little Patrick had offered to walk the elderly couple's dog. She gushed about how much it meant to them. Jennifer was brimming with pride and joy, thinking of her kind son.
Now, who would have thought that such a ‘simple’ act could bring such happiness to someone? Well, it did for this elderly couple! It did make a difference.
Do we forget to encourage our children to be kind? Do we reinforce how important it is to bring a smile to someone? Do we tell them how much an act of kindness could mean to somebody? It is never too late to begin. There are opportunities to show kindness all around us. The list below is packed with thoughtful and kind gestures - ‘simple’ ways your child can bring a smile on the face of someone. Have your kid try one or two today.
1. Donate things you do not use or need
Encourage your child to give away things that he has no need for anymore. It could be the tricycle that he has grown too big for, the clothes that he has outgrown, the books he has read numerous times, the toys he no longer plays with or the school bag he no longer carries. These things can be donated to charity, or given to the children of the driver, the house maid or even the neighbourhood shopkeeper.
2. Write thank you notes for people you are grateful for
We have a lot to be grateful for. Your kids too! It is important to get your children to express their gratitude and let people in their lives know just how much they are appreciated for. Be it parents, teachers, siblings, friends, the maid, the babysitter – encourage your children to show their thankfulness in little ways. A simple but heartfelt thank you note is sure to bring a smile to anybody. Get your kids to creatively write notes!
3. Distribute food to the needy
Hunger is a major problem plaguing our society. There are so many who go hungry every day and can be seen begging for food on the streets or scavenging garbage bins for leftovers. Inculcate in your kids the habit to pack some food and distribute it to the needy every now and then. If excess of food has been cooked in your home, instead of letting it go to waste, make sure you and your child together give it away to someone who can satisfy his hunger.
4. Run an errand for the family
Offering to do an errand, however small, for the family is a simple way to instantly make someone smile. Let your child pick up milk from the store, set the table, put clothes for wash, collect the newspaper for grandfather, assist grandmother with her evening walk, etc. The ideas are plenty. Each family and home, have their own set of errands and household work that children can be involved in.
5. Volunteer for different activities
We all want to raise children who are engaged with their communities, who help others in need, and who work to make the world a better place. Children can volunteer in little ways – like for their neighbours – by feeding their pet when the owners step out or watering the plants when they have gone on vacation. Further, kids can take part in any community drives like a clean-the-neighbourhood, plant a tree, save water or even marathons for a noble cause. In fact, you and your child can take part together and give back to the society in a meaningful way.
6. Give handmade things
When it comes to making someone’s day – nothing gets more thoughtful than gifting them with something that you put your effort in. A gift or card that is handmade rather ‘heartmade’ will always be appreciated. After all, it is the thought that counts. Here is how you can go about it. Your child can make greeting cards or bookmarks from chart paper, and then jazz it up with some glitter, stickers, sequins, colours, etc. He can then add his personal touch with a sweet message. Or she can draw or paint a pretty picture and write a thoughtful note to go with it. In case your child has a hobby like shell art, pressed flowers, making jewelry – she can make something fun and gift it. Let your child know that a gift need not always be new, or bought from the store. In fact, gifts with a warm and personal touch, are the ones that bring a bigger smile and has a longer impact on people.
7. Try pebble painting
Pebble painting is not only a fun activity for children to do, but also makes an interesting kindness project. Children can collect pebbles of different shapes and sizes, paint it with different colours and scribble an uplifting message on it. After doing so, you may leave the painted pebble at the beach, or a park or the community hall for a stranger to stumble upon. It bound to bring a smile on their face and brighten their day!
To learn more about how pebble painting is a way to spread kindness, click here.
8. Help the elderly
Raise your children to be sensitive to the needs of the elderly. Let them know how old age makes grandparents less energetic and that it is difficult for them to do simple activities around the house. Grandchildren can instantly make their grandparents smile with sweet gestures such as fetching a glass of water from the kitchen for them, getting their spectacles for them, giving up their place for them, helping them walk, carry their bag or stuff for them and so on. Not just for grandparents, but children can extend these 'acts' of kindness to other elders as well.
9. Surprise the underprivileged
From the maid to the school bus driver, the neighbourhood shopkeeper to the babysitter, the peon to the cleaning lady, children can show to them gratitude and that their work is not going unrecognized through small gestures like gifts bought through pocket money or a simple ‘thank you’. Watch their faces light up with a huge smile!
10. Leave behind inspirational notes
Today, there are many who are weighted down by work pressure, mounting bills, damaged relationships, a tragedy in life, etc. Let you child take upon him to spread a little bit of cheer around. Children can write inspirational messages or quotes on bits of stick-on papers that express positivity and optimism. Then, they can stick them in public places where everyone can see them.
11. Say it from the heart
Words are powerful. A simple thank you, a sorry, a compliment, genuinely said from the heart, is a great way to brighten someone’s day. Children can start by complimenting their parents for loving them, their teachers for being patients and understanding or even compliment their friends for wearing a good outfit or doing well in extra-co-curricular activities. Encourage your child to find positivity around in people and to say it when they feel it.
12. Give a warm hug
“A hug is like a boomerang – you get it back right away.” Bil Keane
There is seemingly no wrong a simple hug cannot set right. Teach your child the power of a hug. From making a sad person happy to reassuring someone that things, however wrong they may seem at the moment, will be set right; from helping make someone’s day better to just conveying to someone they are loved – a hug is one sure way to spread cheer to others.
When your child learns to live with the intent of making the lives of other people happy, he will realise that some things do not require much effort and time. And a simple smile is a gift that just keeps on giving.
Together we can change the world, just one random act of kindness at a time - Ron Hall, writer and producer.
About the author:
Written by Ashwin Dewan on 13 December 2019.
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