Joanna Gaines Reveals How She and Chip Instill Kindness in Their Children: ‘We Teach Them Their Words Really Matter’

When it comes to raising their five children, Chip and Joanna Gaines say instilling kindness is a huge priority.

“Every day we try to teach our own kids to be kind to themselves, to each other, to neighbors and especially to those who look like they are alone,” Joanna tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue, on newsstands Friday, November 8. It’s something the former Fixer Upper star experienced first-hand at age 11.

“When I was little, I was new to a school and walked into the cafeteria thinking, ‘Where do I sit?’ This little girl tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘Come sit with me.’ That has always stuck with me. The fact that she stepped out of her world to show kindness to me is something I’m now teaching my own kids.”

As parents to sons Drake, 14, Duke, 11, and Crew, 1, and daughters Ella, 13, and Emmie, 9, “We try to be conscious of what we hear them say to each other and how they say it,” says Joanna. “I know the kind words that were spoken to me as a kid that were really impactful — but also the negative words that I had to work through up until my 20s and 30s. We try to teach our kids that their words really matter.”

In August, the couple launched their kindness campaign by creating four different downloadable and printable flyers (available here) — two that include general acts of kindness, one that allows you to write in your own acts of kindness and one that is geared towards the younger generation.

“We started wrestling with the thought of simply paying for a stranger’s meal or calling an old friend— just a little token,” says Chip of their wish to put more good out into the world. “It evolved from there.”

The flyers each have tear-off tabs, encouraging acts like “Volunteer at a charity” and “Thank a veteran for their service.”

WATCH THIS: Chip Gaines Says He Could See Himself Giving Son Crew Another ‘Little Sibling’ with Wife Joanna

The couple say the addition of their fifth child, son Crew, in June 2018 has been a reminder to the family of the innate goodness in people.

“There’s just something about kids — they don’t have the stereotypes that we’ve built in our own minds, or the prejudices,” Chip says. “It’s funny, for Jo and me and our older kids, we watch Crew and see how he embraces life with this amazing neutrality. He’s just full of life, love and curiosity.”

PEOPLE’s first-ever Kindness Issue is dedicated to highlighting the ways, big and small, that kindness can make a difference and change lives. Click here and pick up the issue, on stands Friday, Nov. 8, for more stories on the impact of kindness from Julia Roberts, Tiffany Haddish and other stars, as well as everyday people practicing kindness in their communities.


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