two children holding hands and walking

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in parenting comparison. When I see a friend’s child getting a trophy for being the best at something, I get a twinge of jealousy. When I hear that someone else’s child is reading chapter books already, I start to panic. When someone else’s daughter sells more Girl Scout cookies, I begin to wonder how I dropped the ball.

It’s exhausting and draining to get sucked into the tornado of comparison. And I think sometimes we lose sight of the importance of teaching kindness to our kids. My kids are 6 and 7; they have their whole lives to become who they are meant to be. When I stop to think about what I really want for my children, it’s that I want them to be kind and happy.

Research shows that kindness leads to happiness, so they go hand in hand. I want my kids to see kindness as an important quality and to carry that throughout their lives. Being kind is more important than being the best, in my eyes, and small acts of kindness can make a significant impact on others.

So how do we teach kids to be kind? Here are a few small, simple ways to start.

Be an example of kindness yourself

Don’t let your kids hear you making fun of another mom, trash-talking your husband, or being rude to the waitress. Let them see you compliment others, give a hug, offer a helping hand, or simply hold the door for someone. Although it often seems like your kids aren’t listening to what you say, they certainly are watching what you do.

Create something

My kids are visual learners, so finding ways for them to see kindness in action is helpful. We have painted kindness rocks for people to find. The thought of someone finding a beautiful painted rock and smiling helps them see that simple acts can brighten someone’s day. It could also be drawing pictures to give to someone who needs cheering up. The act of creating something and seeing it make others happy can be impactful.

Visit someone

Giving someone your time is an important act of kindness. We are all over-scheduled these days, so time is precious. It could be taking the time to visit a family member with your kids, or volunteering at a soup kitchen or a dog shelter. Showing kids the importance of giving their time to others is priceless.

Share kindness stories

Every night at dinner or bedtime (or even once a week) each family member can share one act of kindness they did that day or one act of kindness they witnessed. Having this ritual will help them be more aware of kindness and create a feeling of proudness around it.

These are just a few examples and a place to start. This list will grow as your children grow. Kindness isn’t always easy or “cool.” It can take courage for kids to be kind when others around them may not be. Many kids don’t want to stand out from the crowd, and sometimes being kind can feel scary because you’re putting yourself out there. Kindness is a muscle that we can all work to build and help our kids build too. Nothing makes me prouder than seeing my child show kindness to others. In a world where being the “best” or the “most liked” is often emphasized, think of the world we could create if kindness were our focus.

Ranessa Doucet
Ranessa is a Boston native who grew up in Charlestown and never gets tired of exploring the city. She now lives north of Boston with her husband, two kids, and two mischievous pugs. Ranessa earned her master’s degree in elementary education and licensure in early childhood education. She currently works as an Academic Interventionist and Freelance Writer. Ranessa loves writing about parenting tweens, exploring New England, health, and self-care. When not writing or reading, you can find her watching reality TV, eating chocolate, attending her kids’ sporting events, and dreaming about the beach.


  1. I loved this and you said it beautifully!! If only there were more kindness in this world!! It starts at home and it’s so important to lead by example and hopefully more people will follow suit!!

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