Annie Fox's Blog...

Thoughts about teens, tweens, parenting and this adventure of living on Earth in the 21st century.

Annie Fox, M.Ed., is an internationally respected parenting expert, award-winning author, and a trusted online adviser for tweens and teens.

Presidents’ Day Acts of Kindness Challenge

February 16, 2014

Acts of kindness create a chain reaction

Acts of kindness create a chain reaction

UPDATE: When it comes to kids learning kindness, we’re not looking for perfection, only progress. We’d love to hear about your kids’ progress. Tweet, FB, Instagram or Pinterest, posts, photos or videos related to kindness, it could be a great story, a photo of your kindness chain, a video of someone in your family being kind to a family member, the sky is the limit! Then on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week (Feb 18-20), use hashtags #OlympicMoms #OlympicDads to share your acts of kindness and we’ll find your post with our super cool TINT content curation tool. We’ll gift one mom/family per day a My Growing Up Chart. As my pal, Dr. Lynne Kenney says, “Being kind wins the GOLD!”

Tomorrow is a school holiday here in the States (Happy Birthday General Washington. You too, Mr. Lincoln!) And today wraps up National Random Acts of Kindness Week. In case you missed it, no worries. I’ve officially declared an extension of] RAK. Why? Because without kindness, a day with the kids home from school can be a very loooooong snarky day indeed… especially if the cold keeps the younguns inside and at each others’ throats. Also, it seems fitting to stretch out this kindness thing because we’ve got another week of the  Olympic Games, which are as much about cooperation and respect as they are about competition.

In honor of all of this, I hereby challenge you to challenge yourself and your kids to spend the next week being especially kind to people in your family, friends, neighbors and whomever you meet (online or off).

A Chain of Kindness (mini-art project to prevent spikes in cabin fever)

Here’s a fun way for kids to become aware of opportunities to be kind and helpful. It will also give them a visual experience of how acts of kindness “add up” and make all of us feel happier and more connected.

What you’ll need:

  • Colored paper (plain white paper works too)
  • Scissors
  • Tape or glue (staples work as well)
  • Pens, markers or crayons

 How: Talk to your kids about kindness.

Conversations that Count: Questions for you and your kids to ponder together: What are some examples of being kind? What might happen if there was more kindness in the world? What do you think gets in the way of people being kinder to each other?

Discussion drivers: Think about a recent time you were kind to someone without being asked to do it. How did you feel? What response did you get from the other person? How did that feel? Now think about a time someone was kind to you. How did you feel? How did you express that?

The Kindness Challenge:  As a family, let’s challenge ourselves to increase our acts of kindness over the next 7 days.

  1. Choose a piece of colored paper and cut a strip about 11 X 2 inches.
  2. Write a sentence about what you did in the past week, that was kind – one act of kindness per strip. Sign your name.
  3. Connect your strip with someone else’s, etc. and create “links” using the glue.
  4. Got more than one recent act of kindness? Make another link!
  5. Add to the chain any time you want.

To help the chain grow faster (and the family actively looking for opportunities to be kind) hang the chain in a place where everyone can see it and keep the art materials readily available.

Enjoy… in kindness and let me know how it goes! We can create a chain of kindness story comments right here!

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Olympic figure skaters got no trust issues

February 12, 2014

Confession time. My name is Annie and I’m a figure skating illiterate. No matter how many Winter Games I devour, I’ll never get the difference between a triple toe loop, sow cow, lutz or twizzle. Who cares? I’m hooked on all of the single skating events. Short. Long. Free. But when it comes to pairs… Wow! You get twice the beauty and fifty times the danger. Knife sharp blades this close to a serene face. Head with precious brain this close to rock hard ice.  And don’t slip past the improbability of survival when a guy balancing on 3/16 inch of steel, lifts a woman (albeit it a small one) overhead with one hand! Then seconds later, he catapults her into the stratosphere, where she spins one, two, three and a half times and (hopefully) lands with grace on a few toes, all the while smiling at him and gliding backwards.

Kirsten Moore-Towers.Dylan Moscovitch (AP)

Canadians Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch (AP)

How nuts is that and when can I see more?

Because relationships are my business, that’s the filter through which I see all human interactions. So when I’m watching the moves on the ice, I’m asking myself: How do the skaters develop the trust they need?

Maria Mukhortova and Maxim Trankov (2010 European Chamionships)

Maria Mukhortova and Maxim Trankov (2010 European Chamionships)

For the women, they need to be strong, solid, flexible and totally trusting of their partner’s ability to support them. When someone is holding your body upside down over their shoulders, that’s a whole new level of support, right?

For the men, they need to be a strong, solid, flexible and totally trustworthy partner, no distractions allowed. When you are balancing someone’s body over your head, with one hand, your cell phone better not be in your pocket.

Teachable moment: How do we teach our kids that trust is a two-way street? How do we show them are trustworthy people to others and trustworthy parents to them? How do we teach our kids to be trusting and trustworthy people in their relationship with us and with their peers?

I’ll trust you to think about that for a while, then you might want to have a conversation with your children.

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