Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all feel accepted by other people in the world and by ourselves? Think about how the world would be if there was no prejudice, and tolerance and kindness were the traits most often displayed by everyone. 

Sometimes, it is the smallest things that are the most important to promote in our children and staff and being kind to others, celebrating our individuality and being kind to all beings is a great place to start.  

February 17th is Random Acts of Kindness Day, celebrated across the world by people wanting to spread love and positivity, and there is no better place to start than educating our youngest citizens about simple behaviour that anyone can do; cost nothing, and the impact of which can be felt far and wide.  

The Benefits Of Random Acts Of Kindness

According to their website, being kind to others has many benefits not only to the recipient, but to ourselves too. People who witness acts of kindness can also be affected because science has shown that even witnessing an act of kindness can produce oxytocin, which some people refer to as the ‘love hormone’. Oxytocin is an important hormone in the body which can help to: 

  • Lower blood pressure 
  • Improve general heart health 
  • Increase optimism and positivity 
  • Improve self-esteem 
  • Help reduce anxiety 

Serotonin, the ‘happy hormone’ also increases when people are kind to others and the brain’s “pleasure and reward centres light up as if you were the recipient of the good deed, not the giver". This phenomenon is called the “helper’s high.” 

Being kind to others can also help people feel stronger and more energetic according to one study from UC Berkeley, Greater Good Science Center. It also helped increase feelings of self-worth as well as making people feel calmer and reducing depression.   

Kindness Can Increase Your Lifespan 

According to the author, Christine Carter, who penned the book “Raising Happiness; In Pursuit of Joyful Kids and Happier Parents”: 

“People who volunteer tend to experience fewer aches and pains. Giving help to others protects overall health twice as much as aspirin protects against heart disease. People 55 and older who volunteer for two or more organizations have an impressive 44% lower likelihood of dying early, and that’s after sifting out every other contributing factor, including physical health, exercise, gender, habits like smoking, marital status and many more. This is a stronger effect than exercising four times a week or going to church.”  

Why Is It Important To Celebrate Individuality? 

The world is full of 7-8 billion people and every one of us is unique. Even biological twins, who share much of the same DNA, have different personalities, preferences and perceptions of the world. And the world is a much more vibrant and engaging place because of it.  

Think for a moment, what the world would be like if everyone was more alike – if we all liked the same things, and listened to the same type of music, wore the same clothes and ate the same foods. Would that be a change for the better?  

We humans love experiencing new things – and accepting ourselves for the amazing, individual and unique people we are is a great start, because if we can do that for ourselves, we can then start to give others the same freedom to be themselves, and tolerance grows.  

There is a duty in educational establishments in the UK to promote British Values, including:  

  • Individual liberty - protection of your rights and the rights of others around you 
  • Mutual respect & tolerance of different faiths and beliefs - understanding that we all don’t share the same beliefs and values. Respecting those values, ideas and beliefs of others whilst not imposing our own onto them 

Helping young children understand these concepts will not only set them up for a happier life but help them create a future they deserve.  

How To Promote Kindness In Your Setting 

One way to introduce the idea of kindness is to celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Day in an organised and formal way. You could: 

  • Hold a day where people are encouraged to think about what kindness really means and how it can be promoted 
  • Talk to the children in circle time and read books and social stories about kindness and the impact in can have on others 
  • Watch videos of people helping others, including the police, fire and health services and explain how these people help everyone because of the important job they do 

Start small 

Kindness is free to give and receive and we could all increase the number of acts of kindness we do each day at no cost to ourselves. Think about: 

  • Giving a compliment to friends, family and even strangers – tell the waiter/shop keeper they are doing a good job and watch their face light up 
  • Show gratitude and thanks – get the children (and staff) to tell you 5 things they really appreciate or are grateful for then make a gratitude tree to hang the notes on, or a 2D wall mural and use post-it notes on a regular basis to say ‘thank you’ for something 
  • Send an email/postcard/letter of appreciation to someone – imagine the lift you would get if you got a thank you text out of the blue from a friend or colleague 
  • Organise a donation to a charity through the setting – it doesn’t have to be money but could be some toys or clothes that people no longer use or need 
  • Encourage people to visit a friend or someone who needs a friend 
  • Organise an intergenerational visit to a care home 
  • Challenge yourself to say/write only positive comments the whole day 
  • Decide on 5 actions that you could promote with the children in your setting and model these for them. You can think of simple things such as:
    - Holding a door open for someone
    - Giving a friend a hug
    - Smiling at people
    - Offering to help someone with a task
    - Checking in on a friend to see if they are OK 

Remember to spread the kindness and promote kindness in others by using social media hashtags for Random Acts of Kindness Day or your own version of it. Below are some popular related hashtags:  

  • #RandomActsOfKindness 
  • #KindnessMatters 
  • #MakeADifference 
  • #ShareTheLove 

Have a wonderful day! 

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