No matter how you celebrate, the holiday season is all about kindness and giving. However, in the chaos of shopping and parties, it can be challenging to help your kids focus on others. Creating an advent calendar of kindness can be a great way to remind the whole family each day about doing good and giving back.
An Opportunity to Explain Why Kindness Counts
Holiday countdowns exist in so many forms, such as giving candy each day or handing out mini gifts of toys or books. Rather than gifting things to your kids, you might consider giving this countdown concept a little twist to teach them about giving to others instead.
Each day in December, you can inspire your kids to discover ways to give back with a new random act of kindness to perform. It can be something as simple as leaving a friend a note of encouragement or helping your local wildlife by building a bird feeder. The whole family can be involved and perform these acts of kindness together.
Making the Calendar
You don't have to be super crafty to create your own good-deed advent calendar. To keep things simple, you can just print off a blank calendar for the month and fill in each square with an idea for giving back that day. If you have older kids, it can also be fun and a little more challenging to have them help brainstorm the ideas for each day.
Of course, you can also make your calendar a little more festive and fun, too. This is especially helpful for smaller kids who look forward to a surprise each day. Here are some ideas to dress up your kindness calendar:
- Jar of kindness: Recycle an oatmeal container or empty can and turn it into a decorative jar by covering it in recycled wrapping paper, stickers, or any other creative decorations your kids can think of. Write each day's act of kindness on a wooden stick and then place them inside the decorated jar. On each day of the month, you can pull out a new stick until you've done them all.
- Envelope of the day: On a large poster board, glue mini envelopes in rows, with the flaps facing out. It should look a little bit like an actual calendar, with each day represented by a different envelope. If you want to make it a little more colorful, you can also have your kids draw designs on the envelopes before gluing them on. Write your acts of kindness on a small card or a slip of paper that can fit inside the envelopes, and then seal them inside. Each day, you'll open a new envelope to reveal what your family will do that day.
- Kindness garland: Make your advent calendar of kindness part of your holiday decor by turning it into a festive garland. Cut fun shapes, like stars or hearts, out of recycled cardboard boxes or old wrapping paper. Number each shape and write a good deed for the day on it. Then, hang a long piece of colorful yarn or twine where your family will see it each day and string the deeds on it with clothespins.
Ideas for Acts of Kindness
Kindness doesn't have to cost a thing. There are so many ways that you can brighten someone else's day with just a simple gesture. Getting the whole family involved in coming up with ideas can help to kick-start the conversation about why giving back is so important. Here are a few fun ideas to help you begin:
- Paint kindness rocks with positive messages and leave them where others can find them.
- Leave your mail carrier a thank-you note.
- Bake some muffins and bring them to a neighbor.
- Pick flowers from your garden and bring them to your teacher.
- Make a recycled bird feeder and hang it in your yard.
- Use chalk to write inspirational messages on the sidewalks in your neighborhood.
- Pick up litter at the park.
- Hold the door open for someone.
- Donate a toy you no longer play with.
- Give someone a compliment.
- Write a note to a family member telling them why you love them.
- Invite someone new to sit with you at lunch.
- Let someone go in front of you in line.
- Donate some of your books to the school library.
- Bring a treat to your local fire station.
- Smile at everyone you see.
Keep your ideas simple and easy to accomplish. The goal here is to teach your kids that an act of kindness is something they can do without much effort, which makes it easy and fun to spread happiness to others.
Have you created an advent calendar of kindness with your family? Show us your good-deed ideas by tagging @toms_of_maine on Instagram!
Image Source: Sher Warkentin
The views and opinions expressed in any guest post featured on our site are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of Tom's of Maine.
Why It's Good
Instead of focusing on receiving gifts, an advent calendar of kindness helps your kids understand the joy of giving back and helping others. It's a fun activity that the whole family can get involved in to share the spirit of the holiday season.