Featuring our new back-to-school kindness challenge!
Even as we say our long good-bye to flexible summer days, it's time for us to embrace the potential of the school year in front of us.
This, undoubtedly, will be the best school year yet.
And this year, each of us – parents, kids, teachers – have the opportunity to be our best selves yet.
Somehow, the back-to-school season feels like a more natural time to make new resolutions than January first. Our kids have spent the whole summer exploring new interests, gaining a bit more independence, and growing a couple of shoe sizes.
They are ready to set new goals and meet greater expectations.
The back-to-school season is a great time to re-orient ourselves to our priorities. Together, let's resolve to make this a big-hearted school year, full of compassion, reflection, and thoughtful acts of kindness.
This focus on compassion is great for your child.
Emerging research continues to demonstrate that if you want your child to be successful (whether you define success as happiness, academic achievement, good health or social connections) practicing kindness and doing good for others should be high on your family's to-do list.
Check out our newsletter 6 Ways Practicing Kindness is GREAT for your child to discover what the research says about raising compassionate kids.
And this focus on compassion will strengthen our communities.
Each intentional, compassionate act you share as a family will have an immediate impact on those you help. But its effect will linger in your community for years to come, as your children learn to think of themselves as empowered, helpful, doers of good.
It's tempting to assume that kids will learn compassion simply by growing up in a loving family.
We go out of our way to expose our children to music lessons, athletic challenges, and academic opportunities, but we leave them to learn kindness and strength of character by example alone.
This is a mistake. We need to give kids frequent opportunities to flex their empathy muscles and practice kindness. The tools below are designed to do exactly that.
The less you isolate acts of kindness into their own once-in-a-while calendar slots, the more generosity simply becomes a way of life.
Take the challenge. Build kindness into your everyday routine, and make your community a kind and welcoming place.
Use three printable tools to make kindness a priority this school year.
1. Commit to our Back-to-School Kindness Challenge.
To help your family –and mine – kick-start a big-hearted school year, we've put together a pair of Back-to-School 30 Days of Kindness Challenges. One is perfect for you elementary school student while the other was designed with older students in mind. Start your challenge on Sept. 1st, on the first day of school, or whenever you and your family want to commit to #30Days of doing good for others.
Print our elementary school challenge or our upper-grade challenge (below).
Post your challenge on your refrigerator.
Encourage your whole family to give each task a try, adapting it as needed.
Reserve a few minutes each day to reflect on your act of kindness.
Prepare for the next day's activity.
Follow us on Instagram for a day-by-day reminder starting September 1st: @DoingGoodTogether. Tag your own challenge with #DGTsBackToSchoolChallenge
2. Build kindness into your family routines.
Explore our menu of ideas for big-hearted habits. Simple, everyday acts of compassion will build empathy muscles, as well as family bonds.
3. Make time for family meetings.
Use our printable meeting agenda to help your family live your priorities week by week. Research continues to place family meetings at the very center of a well-communicating family. Our meeting agenda offers conversation prompts and planning space to set a variety of goals each week, including kid-led chores and acts of kindness.
Let's kick off the school year with a strong focus on kindness. Commit to just thirty days, thirty acts of kindness. Build a habit of kindness into your everyday routine. Or hold family meetings, and commit to a kind act each week.
By making a commitment to kindness now, you're sure to start some habits that will linger all year long, even through the busy weeks. And we all know, the school year will get busy. Our best intentions will get put on hold when the flu strikes or the sports schedule overtakes too many weekends in a row.
Let's resolve to start this school-year right.
Each time you intentionally, thoughtfully practice compassion with your family, your children are absorbing that message. They are learning more and more about the sort of people they intend to be when they grow up. And they are developing an understanding of themselves as helpers.
The school year will unfold with new opportunities for growth, new challenges, and new growing pains. The kids will learn and change in such remarkable ways, and we as parents will have our share of learning to to do too.
Though the details of these school days will eventually blur into the haze of memory, our big-hearted routines, and our conviction to make the world a better place will linger for a lifetime.
Browse more back-to-school blog posts.
If you like our free resources, you'll love our membership program! Join today and we'll help you keep kindness on your family calendar all year long.
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The recommendations we offer are based solely on our mission to empower parents to raise children who care and contribute.