The Most Inspiring Kid Moments Caught on Security Cameras

by Krystal Rogers-Nelson
Jan 17, 2018 at 4:00 p.m. ET

Did you know home security cameras offer benefits other than just, you know, safety? Most new security cameras have cloud storage and live feeds directly to your smartphone, aiming to give you peace of mind by helping you keep an eye on your home when you're away. Well, apparently these gadgets are also great for catching happy moments and random acts of kindness from kids. Yep, you read that right: Kids being kind on camera when they don't even realize someone's watching.

With record tropical storms, wildfires and deep political divides across the U.S., 2017 was pretty rough. But on the positive side, it was a banner year for adorable kids on security cameras. Who knew? 

From finding a home to sharing the love (aka the candy) to returning lost funds to their rightful owners, these kids are living — and loving — it up on hidden camera. Hopefully, the moments (and GIFs) we rounded up ahead will warm your heart and encourage you — and your kids — to choose kindness in 2018.

1/4 :An Empty Bowl

On Halloween 2017, one mom left a bowl of candy on the porch so she could take her kids trick-or-treating. She hoped the kids who stopped by her home would follow the code of “only take one.” One kid, however, exceeded her expectations. He saw her empty bowl and — rather than stomping off disappointed — refilled the bowl with candy from his own Halloween bag.

As a parent, you may have a hard time getting your kids to listen and follow instructions, let alone getting them to think beyond themselves. In this case, the kid who shared his candy looked at the bigger picture, empathized with other kids and took the initiative to make the situation better. One way to cultivate this type of empathy and compassion in our kids is by inductive parenting. This means talking to your kids about how their actions affect other people and then giving natural consequences based on rational explanations. Inductive parenting can help kids internalize moral principles, empathize with others and learn to be spontaneously helpful.

2 /4: Boomerang Wallet

2/4 :Boomerang Wallet

Another kid, this one 18 years old, returned a wallet he found lying in a driveway. Sure, seems like a small and obvious act of kindness, but get this: The wallet contained $1,500. That kid could have taken the money and gone on a shopping spree — or put it toward his college education. But he didn’t. He walked up to the front door, rang the doorbell and delivered the wallet to its rightful owner.

Guess what. Kids learn what they live. As a parent, you are their primary example of behavior and action. If you act with integrity and return items that don’t belong to you, your kid likely will too. You don’t have to do anything grand to help your kids develop that type of attitude. Just be there for them when the milk spills and model the behavior you want to see. In addition, apologizing when you’re wrong or trying to see things from their perspective can help your kids see that you are understanding and compassionate, which helps them develop their own caring attitudes and behaviors.

3 /4: The Smallest Action

3/4 :The Smallest Action

Another act of financial security-cam compassion concerns not $1,500 but 25 cents. A neighbor’s outdoor security camera caught two boys, ages 5 and 7, discovering and debating a shiny coin on the sidewalk. The boys decide to “do the right thing” and return the quarter to the homeowner.

Developing kind, respectful attitudes starts with small actions. It also begins at home. When you make something as little as 25 cents matter at home, it will matter on the sidewalk too. You can then build on those small actions. Mom Leigh M. Clark calls this teaching kids to be “helpers.” She implements the philosophy in her own household, setting up family projects like making get-well cards for the local hospital or sponsoring a child in need.

4 /4: A Forever Home

4/4 :A Forever Home

Kids in the foster system rarely expect to hear good news. But when they get it, it's life-changing. This is Tannah’s story, caught on a school’s security camera. When her office manager told her she was being officially adopted, she almost bowled the woman over with her hug.

Highlights magazine interviews kids every year asking them what it’s like to be a kid today. In its latest “The State of the Kid,” the children interviewed agreed that what they want is a kinder world. They also want to see more honesty and respect. But kids don’t necessarily come equipped with those characteristics from the get-go. It often takes a few scuffles on the playground to learn kindness and conflict-resolution skills. It also requires input from caring adults; the kinder and more empathetic you are, inside and outside the home, the kinder your kids will be.

Kids want a kinder world. Let’s help them make one.