Teaching Kids about Kindness

Posted on August 9, 2019

by April S

Kindness comes in many forms. Some people make it look easy, but really it often comes down to choices we make every day. And in a world that often seems cold and indifferent, spreading a little joy through small acts of kindness can make a big difference.

5 Reasons to Teach Kids Kindness:

  1. It builds character
  2. It teaches kids that their actions affect others
  3. It helps build self-esteem
  4. It makes kids happier
  5. It increases feelings of gratitude

Have you ever heard someone say “be nice” to a young child? What does that really mean? For young children without a lot of life experience this phrase may be confusing. After all, kids want to know the “why” behind concepts. And it’s not always easy to explain complex ones to young children.

Below, you’ll find a variety of resources designed to explain and teach kids about the power of kindness.

Picture Books about Kindness

What does it mean to be kind? by Rana Diorio
What does it mean to be kind? by Rana Diorio

This is a great book for kids, parents, teachers and caregivers. It discusses the importance of caring, patience, forgiveness and acceptance. In this wonderfully illustrated picture book with a positive message, a young student finds the courage to show kindness to a new student in her class. Quickly, her kindness inspires others to engage in kind acts. This is such a beautiful story for all ages.

Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed by Emily Pearson
Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed by Emily Pearson

A feel-good story that highlights the extraordinary effect small acts of kindness (or ordinary deeds) can have on others. It asks the question – Can one child’s good deed change the world? The concept that kindness is contagious makes you feel good. It’s inspiring to think that ordinary deeds can really make a difference. And while it’s easy to dismiss small acts as unimportant, it’s just as easy to spread joy by doing nice things for others – just because.

Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson
Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson

Each kindness makes the world a little better. This story will resonate with readers of all ages. The importance of kindness is one of those things we have to teach kids from a young age. Our actions and/or words do matter and they impact others in ways we may not always fully understand. Also available in eAudio.

Try a Little Kindness by Henry Cole

Try a Little Kindness by Henry Cole

In this funny picture book, the author shows kids different ways to be kind with his hysterical cartoon animal characters. The story includes examples of ways to kind (or a good person) like using proper manners, telling someone they are special, or sharing a treat. The animal characters and simple text will help readers learn the importance of kindness in a fun way with lots of kid appeal.

Cara's Kindness by Kristi Yamaguchi

Cara’s Kindness by Kristi Yamaguchi

Struggling to choose a soundtrack for her figure-skating performance, Cara the skating cat discovers that her friend Darby the dog is sad because he does not know how to ice skate, a situation that prompts Cara to set aside her own problem to help him out, with the request that Darby help another person in turn. Also available in eVideo.

Kindness is cooler, Mrs. Ruler / written by Margery Cuyler ; illustrated by Sachiko Yohikawa

Kindness is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler by Margery Cuyler

Determined to teach the importance of kindness to her class, Mrs. Ruler gives out an assignment that soon inspires everyone, with the exception of David, to be nicer to one another, yet when the class gerbils escape and David saves the day, he learns that being kind and helpful isn’t so corny after all.

How Full is Your Bucket? For Kids by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer

How Full is Your Bucket? For Kids by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer

Using the metaphor of a bucket, Felix’s grandfather explains how being kind is the most fulfilling way to go about one’s life and encourages him not to be dissuaded by those who choose a different path in this inspiring tale about how one person’s actions can impact those of others.

Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller

Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller

When Tanisha spills grape juice all over her new dress, her classmate contemplates how to make her feel better and what it means to be kind. From asking the new girl to play to standing up for someone being bullied, this moving and thoughtful story explores what a child can do to be kind, and how each act, big or small, can make a difference or at least help a friend.

Nonfiction Books for Kids

Be Kind: You Can Make the World a Happier Place! 100 Kind Things to Say & Do by Naomi Shulman

Be Kind: You Can Make the World a Happier Place! 100 Kind Things to Say & Do by Naomi Shulman

In a world where people spend more time engaging through screens than in real-life interaction, showing basic human kindness can feel like a lost art. Be Kind offers children aged 5 and up simple, actionable things they can do in their daily lives that help them cultivate kindness toward others and grow into people with the capacity to make the world a kinder place.

Kindness Matters : A Book About Friendship by Kim Mitzo Thompson and Karen Mitzo Hilderbrand

Kindness Matters: A Book About Friendship by Kim Mitzo Thompson and Karen Mitzo Hilderbrand

A story about being healthy and confident. As part of the “Life Skills for Kids®” series “Kindness Matters,” is a wonderful way for young children to learn social emotional skills that will encourage them to treat everyone kindly, take turns, be positive and encouraging, be a good listener, appreciate their friends just the way they are, and more. Adorable art sweetly illustrates each important life skill. Authentic sound effects and lively music coupled with “easy-to-understand” concepts makes “Kindness Matters” an awesome learning resource.

Kids' Random Acts of Kindness - various authors

Kids’ Random Acts of Kindness – Various Authors

These inspirational stories of generosity – from whimsical and funny to moving and thoughtful – are written by children of all ages and reveal their surprisingly insightful feelings about kindness and compassion. Available as a Book or eBook.

Kindness by Julie Murray

Kindness by Julie Murray

Kindness is important for children to learn and understand at an early age. This title will introduce readers to what kindness is through everyday and relatable examples that they are sure to experience. Inviting covers and fun images throughout will keep readers engaged. Aligned to Common Core Standards and correlated to state standards.

Cat tales : true stories of kindness and companionship with kitties / Aline Alexander Newman

Cat Tales : True Stories of Kindness and Companionship with Kitties by Aline Alexander Newman

Twenty-three charming cats in this book will pounce into your heart with their amazing stories of caring, sense of adventure, mischievousness and total devotion.

Further Reading

Featured Image Credit: Image by Pezibear from Pixabay.

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