A Big Valentine’s Thank You to our Local Firefighters

Gratitude was the theme of this weekend’s Mindful Littles community service event.  Yesterday we got together with several families from our community to give a big Valentine’s Thank You gift to our local Moraga-Orinda Fire Department (MOFD) to thank them for their service.

During our event we heard from two local firefighters, got to tour a fire engine and learn about the different equipment they use.  In addition to explaining the types of calls they get and some fire safety tips, the firemen also explained to the kids how they deal with their own fears when fighting fires by relying on their training and camaraderie. Read more

Gratitude Sharing Circle

There are countless benefits to having a disciplined gratitude practice- a few of which I have referenced in this blog post before.  Gratitude can also have positive effects on group dynamics and social settings.  As this article from Fast Company cites for instance, teams who express gratitude together show more reciprocity and are more sensitive toward one another.  So for this week’s kindness project, we did a Gratitude Sharing Circle.  This is a very simple activity, where we joined together as a family to first write about and then share our appreciation for one another.  I got the inspiration from this classroom activity listed in this article here. Read more

A Sunshine Surprise for Someone Who is Sad

Last weekend I learned about a friend who was very upset because she had to put her cat down.  Her cat had been her companion for several years, and the cat’s passing was extremely hard for her. She said that it felt like she had lost a close family member.  I thought that perhaps my girls and I could do something to cheer my friend up and found the idea for a sunshine box on Pinterest, where you put together a bright and cheery care package for someone who may need a little love.  This activity became the focus of this week’s kindness project. Read more

A message about inclusion and kindness on MLK Day

Yesterday our family enjoyed some downtime together during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.  But I didn’t want the significance of the day to go unnoticed by my children.  And I thought my 5-year old was finally old enough to discuss the importance of Martin Luther King Jr., so we dedicated a portion of our day to learning about his message.  I knew her kindergarten teacher had talked to her about King as well, and I was curious to first learn more about what she had understood from school.  My daughter said that she knew Martin Luther King was an important man, who said ‘nobody will tell my kids they are bad because their skin color is different.’  That seemed like a good start, and I wanted to reinforce the message of diversity and tolerance and kindness at home. Read more

Gratitude Journal: Self-compassion for my littles in the new year

To kick off the first #WeeklyKindnessProject of the new year, I want to start teaching my girls about self-compassion and that being kind to ourselves is just as important as being kind to others.  In fact, self-compassion is being cited as one of the most important life skills and has three aspects: mindfulness, common humanity (knowing you are not unique in your hardships) and kindness to yourself.  There are several things that we can do to foster self-compassion on an ongoing basis, but one activity to get us started in the new year is creating our own gratitude journals. Read more

Making #GivingTuesday a Family Affair

For this week’s kindness project, we focused on making #GivingTuesday a family affair and decided to give back to our community in two ways.

img_9769

 

First, over Thanksgiving weekend, we cleaned out our closets and drawers and got a lot of stuff together that we wanted to donate. We went through clothes, books, toys and other household items. We talked about how it was important to donate things that we aren’t using so that it could help someone else who may need it.  Our 5-year old helped identify things that she was ready to part with, and we each piled up our respective items, packed them up and then drove them over to a local Goodwill.

 

Second, we decided that we would each pick a cause we cared about and donate to a charity that was helping that cause.  I had to first step back and explain to my older daughter what a “cause” was and what a “charity” was. After a quick run-through, she generally understood what we were trying to do as a family. It was really neat to talk about the different causes together and why we were picking them.  We may have started a new #GivingTuesday family tradition.

Read more

Two Little Turkeys Say Thanks

In the past during Thanksgiving dinner with our families, we have expressed why we are grateful for each other, but it hasn’t always been consistent.  So for this week’s kindness project, we wanted to give thanks to our family members with special handmade Thanksgiving cards from “Two Little Turkeys.”

My 5-year old and I first sat and talked about each family member, and why she was thankful for that person.  She listed out unique reasons for each person such as “she is the best baker” or “he gives the best hugs” or in my father’s case, “the best cutter of pomegranate!”   Read more

A Family Kindness Jar for Random Acts of Kindness

This week’s kindness activity is actually something we put together a few weeks ago, and something that several experts and resources recommend.  I wanted to test it out first before I posted it as an idea for a #WeeklyKindnessProject.  My girls and I put together a Kindness Jar for our home.  The idea is that anytime anyone in our family “catches” someone doing random acts of kindness, we put a gem stone into our family kindness jar.  Once we fill up our jar, we will go out for a family dinner to celebrate together.

Creating the Kindness Jar

For the jar, we used a small mason jar, but you can use any container.  My daughter made the label and we decorated it with a ribbon.  We also got these gem stones on Amazon for our kindness acts, but any unit or even note cards would work.   Read more

#WeeklyKindnessProject: Different Hearts, United As One

No matter what your political position is, it’s probably fair to say that Hillary Clinton may be feeling a bit despondent about the results of the election. In fact, she explicitly shared her pain during her concession speech.

What amazed me this week was my 5-year old daughter’s capacity to realize this pain on her own the morning after the election.  When we discussed the results, the first thing she said was I want to send a kind thought to Hillary Clinton because she must be feeling really sad.

She must be feeling really sad.

With that simple articulation, we came up with this week’s kindness project.  Together we set out to send a kind thought to Hillary and thank her for her hard work and service.  We first talked about the United States, and went through the 50 states on a world map.  We then put together a U.S. flag with construction paper.  We turned the 50 stars into 50 hearts, which we individually cut out, so they all were a little different.  I explained to my daughter that the 50 hearts represent the 50 states of our great nation and that probably now more than ever we needed to spread a lot of love throughout our country.  And that just like our cutout hearts, we are all a little different, but we needed to be united as one.    We then glued individual notes to Hillary on the back of our flag to say we felt sorry for Hillary’s pain and that we were appreciative of her lifelong service to our country. My daughter thanked her for trying to be the first girl president, and she called her her hero. Read more

A Homemade Puppet Show: The Lion & the Mouse

For this week’s kindness project, we focused our activity on a well-known Aesop’s fable: “The Lion and the Mouse.”

Reading the story

We first started off by reading the story with a picture book with no words which was incredible as it allowed us to discuss the plot and the feelings of all the characters. The quick summary of the plot is that the lion catches a mouse, and the mouse begs the lion to be freed saying that it will return the favor some day.  The lion sets the mouse free but scoffs thinking that such a small creature could never be of help.  Soon after though the lion gets trapped by some hunters with a snare made of rope.  The mouse sees that the lion is trapped, and gnaws the rope through to set the lion free.  And the lion realizes that even the smallest creatures can be of great help, and that no kind deed is wasted. Read more