In today’s world, a little kindness goes a long way. And research shows that teaching kids to be kind has a positive influence on self-esteem, motivation to learn and resilience. Here are five ways to incorporate random acts of kindness into your next family vacation.
1. Pack an attitude of gratitude. Leave impatience behind and offer thanks to those you meet along the way. From harried flight attendants, pilots, TSA agents and front desk personnel to tour guides, bus drivers, restaurant servers and room attendants, encourage the kids to say thank you whenever appropriate. Consider leaving a handwritten note or crayon drawing along with your tip.
2. Be aware of your surroundings. Encourage the kids to take note of the pregnant woman, the elderly or handicapped who might be standing in a crowded bus, airline terminal or hotel lobby while the young and able lounge in chairs. Discuss (and model) how offering a seat, a hand or opening a door can be helpful. By simply taking notice, opportunities for extending kindness will multiply.
3. Pack with a purpose. Reserve a little space in your luggage for books, clothing or school supplies that will make a difference in the lives of others in your destination. The nonprofit organization Pack for a Purpose works with hundreds of hotels and tour operators in 60 countries to help travelers contribute to those in need.
4. Walk, run or bike for charity. Research your destination to determine if there is an opportunity to combine healthy exercise with the chance to give back in your getaway spot. Ask at your hotel or connect with the local tourism organization for ideas. LiveStrong has combined a list of nationwide charity runs on its website.
5. Take a volunteer vacation. Whether you offer an hour, a day or a week, giving back of your time and resources makes for a meaningful holiday. Spend time reading to kids at a nearby school, help save sharks or turtles, share the gift of language or scoop ice cream and assist with pony rides for kids with life-threatening illnesses staying at a nonprofit resort.