the secret kindness project

A couple weeks ago I wrote about our youngest daughter and the struggles she’s been having with her attitude. I challenged the older kids to work on intentional kindness, with the hope that it would help her be more kind and positive herself.  Quite a few of you were curious if it worked.

Absolutely yes.  Within just 3 days, she was much more sunny, trying to be helpful, and overall just had a more positive outlook on life.  It was really sweet to see her become more sweet and less sassy and argumentative.

However, after a week or so, the older kids started forgetting to be kind, and the more they forgot, the more she also backslid in her behavior.  With the craziness of Christmas week, I only addressed the problem with verbal reminders now and then.

But now that the holidays are over,  I really want to cultivate a habit of kindness among the kids on a regular basis.  I’ve decided to assign ‘secret buddies’, (kind of like Secret Santa, you know?).  Kids can help each other with chores, play games with each other,  surprise a sibling with a treat left on a pillow, etc… just whatever they think the sibling will enjoy.  I’ll switch some assignments around every week and some around every month to keep it random and hard to guess. Then every week I’ll ask kids if they can guess who had their name.

I made up a simple chart,  listing the days of the month, with three spaces each day to write a word or two documenting how they were kind to their secret buddy. To make it easier for me to keep up with month by month, I laminated each page.  That way they can write with dry-erase markers, and wipe it clean at the end of month for a fresh start.  For some cute encouragement, I added scrapbooking paper (a different color for each kid) and a Bible verse to the back side.

For at least this first month, I’m going to do a little reward system to encourage kids to get in the habit.  Most likely the successful kindness-doers will get a special snack or an extra hour to sleep in on a school morning, or maybe an extra half hour of video games– something small but fun.  They’ll earn points for filling out the chart, and for being mentioned/guessed as kindness-doers each week. Fun bonus:  if a kid is kind to multiple siblings, several kids might guess the same kid as ‘their’ assigned kindness-doer, which I’m hoping will add to the fun and the mystery.

I’m hoping this will encourage children to be kind to lots of people, even if it’s just for the sake of making it harder to guess who their designated kindness-doer is. I might even jump in there and mysteriously do a chore or two for someone, to make it even more of a guessing game.

Sound like fun?  I hope the kids think so.  I’ll let you know how it goes!

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{ 6 Comments }

  1. That sounds like a fun project. Since I’m done with raising my kids, I often am fondly remembering some of the fun things we’ve done over the years. It might be really fun to have those things written down to read in years to come, when everyone is older and have come together and may have children of their own. They would be especially fun the more creative they’d gotten.

  2. It sounds absolutely BRILLIANT! It’s so easy to slip into focusing on the negative in life – this will be a big encouragment to all : )

    I agree with Cindy, above – make those pages permanent rather than erasable – you’ll all want to read them in 20 years. (I say this as someone who just went thru my Mom’s estate – the fine china and sterling silver is NOTHING compared to those little bits of paper : )

  3. Love this idea! Thinking I will do something similar! Wondering who keeps all the charts and writes on it?

  4. Erasable markers are the greatest.
    As the mother of what seems like dozens of kids when it comes to moving now (only 10), going through all that paperwork is a HEADACHE that I don’t ever want to do again. I ended up throwing it away (adult children) don’t want any of it. The kids wanted to know why I even kept it all these years. I thought one of them would want it for themselves and/or to show their kids.
    Nope none of them were even interested in seeing it themselves, they said throw it out.
    I did discover a Christmas gift for each of the kids (for next year) and that is to give them a photo album with just their pictures through the years. I am going to thoroughly enjoy putting that together but what a mess it is going to be for a couple of months in the dining room!!!!

  5. Is there an update post coming soon? I’m really curious how this is working out for you.

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  1. […] you know the secret kindness project I blogged about in January? We have SO fallen off the wagon. The youngest kiddo, who teases the […]