Preteens who were asked to do three acts of kindness every week for four weeks were happier and more popular among their classmates, according to a study in the journal PLoS One. The findings suggest that performing “positive acts” could even help fight bullying in school. 

Performing deliberate acts of kindness makes pre-teen children more popular with their peers, say scientists.

A team led by researchers at the University of California, Riverside, “assigned” children three acts of kindness each week for four weeks.

After the four weeks, children were happier and more liked by classmates.

The researchers say than encouraging such simple “positive acts” could help children to get along with classmates and even prevent instances of bullying.

The findings are published in the open access journal Plos One.

Working with 400 school children aged between nine and 11, the team assigned whole classrooms either to perform and note down three kind acts per week or – as a control group – to keep a diary of three locations they visited each week.

The kind acts were not necessarily directed towards their classmates. Some examples of the things children reported were: “Gave my mom a hug when she was stressed by her job”, “gave someone some of my lunch,” and “vacuumed the floor”.


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