When was the last time you did something nice for someone? Do you remember that warm and fuzzy feeling it gave you? Acts of service and being kind to others actually does just as much good for the doer as for the recipient. That’s because kindness is contagious. Researchers at UCLA have found that if you witness a kind act, you’re more likely to act kind yourself. Doing good actually makes you feel good, and watching others display kind behavior will make you more likely to spread kindness too. That’s why I’m so excited to introduce you to the YouTube Kids Kindness is Contagious playlist.
So why this sudden interest in kindness research you might ask? Well, I actually think about kindness every day, I just don’t often share it on my social media. But every now and then, my worlds collide. I don’t often share much about my higher education career because it often feels like two separate words from my life as a blogger/influencer. But over the last several months, I’ve had the privilege to work alongside UCLA colleagues and YouTube Kids to create educational materials and kid-focused videos to teach kids and families about kindness. This has been a really meaningful project for me to help lead because it’s a rare opportunity for me to use all of my skill sets in one. It has been so rewarding to combine my knowledge of social media, access to other influencers, advanced degrees in education, and being a parent myself.
The playlist, “Kindness is Contagious”, will be featured on the YouTube Kids App during the month of October with an introduction from actress Tabitha Brown. We created videos for kids, by kids, about all of the different ways to spread kindness, as well as curated existing content from YouTube about kindness for children to enjoy. This initiative aims to support the creation of developmentally appropriate content that promotes kindness in an authentic and engaging way. In addition to viewing the playlist, parents and caregivers can continue to promote kindness among their children by using the Caring Adult Resource Guides created as part of this program.
So why am I so passionate about this project and excited to share it with you? For a few reasons. First, our country feels more divided than ever. When I tell people I direct a research institute on kindness the first thing they always tell me is that ‘we need more kindness in the world. I couldn’t agree more. Yet, do parents and families often take the time to talk to their kids about kindness? Do they know how to approach topics like values, gratitude, and mindfulness?
Honestly, I think so many of us go about our day, focused on the things we need to accomplish, that we often don’t stop to think about others around us or how our actions might affect them. The exciting thing about this project is that we’ve created educational materials for parents and families or other caring adults who interact with children. These educational resources they can use to open up a dialogue with their kids, to help them build skills, and embody kindness.
Another feature of this project that’s been really fun for me is to get to bring in some of my dearest friends around the country (and the world!) so their kids could share their stories of kindness. Some of my closest friends who are also influencers participated in this project. I am so thankful to Terri McHugh, Ramona Cruz-Peters, and Andy Dooley for participating in this project with me. I am also so grateful to my non-influencer friends who took the time to film their family members for this project.
Hopefully, you’ll take some time to sit with your kids and watch our YouTube Kids Kindness is Contagious playlist. I also hope you’ll share the playlist and caring adult resources with people in your life. If you take anything from this story, I hope it’s that you have the power to spread kindness too.
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