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Kindness may be key to happiness for kids

Nice kids are happier, more popular than bullies.

By Charyn Pfeuffer - MSN Living Editor Dec 27, 2012 7:13PM

New research indicates that kids who adhere to the old adage, "Do unto others as you would like others to do unto you,” are happier and more popular reports Fox News.

This finding suggests that simple and brief acts of kindness might help reduce bullying, researchers say.

Photo: Peter Cade/Getty ImagesNot only do happy people often do good for others, but being more prosocial increases people's sense of well-being.

Based on this research, scientists carried out what they say was the first long-term experiment examining kindness in more than 400 “tweens” – kids age 9 to 12 – attending Vancouver, Canada, elementary schools.

Half the randomly-selected students were asked by teachers to keep track of pleasant places they visited, such as playgrounds, sporting fields, shopping centers or a friend's house. The other half were asked to perform acts of kindness. "We gave them examples of acts of kindness, but we left it up to the kids to decide what was a kind act," researcher Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, a developmental psychologist at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, was quoted.

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After four weeks, both groups said they were happier, but the kids who had performed acts of kindness reported experiencing greater acceptance from their peers. 

Recently, news journalist Ann Curry proposed #26acts of kindness in response to the Newtown shooting. The movement went viral as the hashtag “#26acts” trended on Twitter and a "26 Acts of Kindness" Facebook page has exceeded 17,000 likes. From baking treats for a teacher to leaving a bigger tip, this simple idea has sparked good deeds across the nation and even kids are getting in on the do-good act.

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According to Schonert-Reichl, bullying often increases in grades 4 and 5. By asking students to briefly and regularly act kindly to those around them, "hopefully we can get kids to get along in the classroom and reduce instances of the bullying and teasing that we see, especially around this age group," Schonert-Reichl was quoted.


Share this post if you encourage your kids to be kind. If your family has participated in the #26acts movements, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

Bing: How to teach children to be kind

Photo: Peter Cade/Getty Images

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