Now my kids are teenagers, it is a whole new ball game. Both teenagers are currently away on a Youth Camp for a few days. Next week is already planned with friend catchups and work commitments. Read here to find some creative learning ideas for tweens/teenagers during school holidays.
When my kids were younger, I used to use the school holiday time to creatively encourage them to learn. I found if they had a little bit of structure, then it helped the flow of the day. It also lessened the “I’m bored” comments or the “Can I watch tv?” Click here to read more.
I encourage you to consider using this time to creatively help them consider other people. To extend kindness and gratitude to others. To do intentional acts of kindness.
An amazing side benefit I have discovered of helping my kids show kindness to others is that the sense of entitlement decreases greatly and the sense of gratitude within themselves and for others raises significantly. The amount of sibling rivalry and loud angry voices and ‘fighting’ also diminishes greatly.
Our family combined with another family one Sunday afternoon to perform random acts of kindness around the community. We realised that once our children became teenagers, something like this was considered heaps more fun, by the teenagers, if they did it with their friends. It was such great fun and something I encourage you to do. You can read about it here
In encouraging acts of kindness, you may wish to encourage your kids to come up with suggestions that don’t cost too much money or are essentially free. This makes it a tad harder thinking of the ideas but it can make it a lot more manageable to action and carry out the act of kindness.
I encourage you to arrange a ‘date’ with your kids, whether at a café or at home with some baked goodies. Get your kids involved in the baking of the treats. Then set the table with drinks, treats, paper and pens. Have a brainstorming session. Highlight the big picture of how you as a family are going to look at how many acts of kindness you can participate in over the school holidays. One per day is a great goal. Share one or two ideas yourself then ask for their suggestions.
I also encourage you to try and have a variety of recipients eg acts of kindness within the family towards siblings and parents, others aimed at neighbours and friends, others aimed at strangers, then a couple aimed at people overseas.
Suggestions of acts of kindness that don’t require a lot of money might include:
- Baking biscuits for a neighbour.
- Cleaning out the linen cupboard and taking the old towels to a pet shelter.
- Sorting through the toys and selecting toys no longer played with but still in good condition to give to someone in need.
- Sending a letter to a grandparent or older person who lives interstate.
- Sending a letter to a sponsor child or a missionary and praying for that person.
- Sorting through old coats and jackets, beanies and scarves and taking the discarded ones to an organisation that supports the homeless.
- Being a secret agent of dispensing kindness towards a sibling – write names of family members on a slip of paper, place in a hat, each person pulls a name out and doesn’t let on who they have. They then do acts of kindness towards that person the following day until dinner time when everyone tries and guesses who their secret kindness agent was.
- Select a book from your bookshelf that is still in great condition but no longer used. Create a bookmark to put in it explaining that this is a free book to the finder and encourage that person to also do the same with one of their favourite books. Then find somewhere in public to place the book so that someone will pick up the book and keep it as their own new book.
- Visit an elderly person.
- Invite someone to dinner.
- Make a meal for a family who have had a new baby or have a sick family member.
- Writing a letter to a soldier deployed overseas. You can google and find the address to send it to from your country’s defence force website.
- Leaving a thank you note and chocolate bar for the postman or garbage collector.
- Go to the local shopping centre and collect all the shopping trolleys and place in their right place.
- Go to a local park or beach and pick up all the litter.
- Go to a local fast food store and pay for a drink/ice cream for the next customer to get free.
- Pot up some plants and give to someone.
- Clean out your craft cupboard and make up packs for children who go to Accident and Emergency Department at the local hospital. We used pages out of unused colouring books plus added some blank paper and put 3-4 colouring pencils/crayons with them and placed in large zip lock bags together with some stickers. The nurses loved the packs as it helped keep sick kids busy whilst waiting to see a doctor. Click here to read how our family did this for our local Hospital.
- Go shopping and each child select a pair of socks to give to a homeless person.
- Offer to babysit or ‘amuse’ some little kids so that their parent can do something else for a little while.
- Go shopping and select a pack of crayons etc and write a note to the ‘finder’ and leave it at a park where a child will find it.
Once you have brainstormed a list of suggestions, select the ‘doable’ ideas and write them down and place them where your kids can refer to them eg on a list on the fridge or make up a bingo type sheet that you can cross off when you have completed them etc.
Each day, or those times when they need something to do, refer them to the list to choose something. You may prefer, like me, to choose one for each day that coincides with whether you are having a home day or going out to make sure that the act of kindness can be achieved that day.
Enjoy watching how when your children are focussed on someone else, their own feelings of entitlement lesson enormously.
The act of kindness will also help change someone else’s world.
I would love to hear how you implement this in your own family so please feel free to comment.