Kindness doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. While there are plenty of opportunities to donate funds to charities of the folks in need they serve, you can also make a difference in your community by intentionally performing random acts of kindness and teaching your children to do the same. Here are 12 ideas to get you started.
Write Thank-you Notes
An unexpected thank-you note makes somebody feel appreciated. It’s polite to write thank-you notes when somebody gives you a gift, but it’s a random act of kindness when the note is for the garbage man, the postal carrier, the custodian at your kids’ school, or the bus driver that gets them to and from safely every day.
Create an Award To Give Away
Have your kids draw, color, paint, or cut and paste an award that celebrates the “best” people in their lives. Give these awards to the “Best” teacher, the “Best” coach, the “Best” lunch lady, or the “Best” neighbor.
Smile at 5 Strangers
The power of a smile is amazing. When you’re out running errands with your kids, challenge them to make eye contact with and smile at five people they’ve never met and see what reaction they get. They can do the same thing at school during the day with kids they don’t know.
Donate Blood… or Hair
They say that donating one pint of blood can potentially save up to three lives. Your kids are too young to donate, but they can go with you to offer moral support and become familiar with the process. If, for some reason, you’re unable to donate blood due to weight or health restrictions, consider growing your hair long enough to donate the locks to cancer patients. Both blood and hair are something your body reproduces naturally, and it can make a big difference in another person’s life.
Pick Up Trash
It’s a dirty job, but not enough people are doing it. Put on your work gloves, grab a garbage bag and clean the side of the road, the banks of a river, or a city park. You’ll create a cleaner environment in more ways than one.
Volunteer To Babysit
Some young families are unable to afford the cost of a sitter in addition to the cost of a night out. Volunteer to watch their kids for free for a couple of hours. Your kids might make new friends (or a new babysitting recommendation, depending on their age) and you’ve given a much-needed break to a young couple.
Help A Neighbor With Yard Work
Depending on the season, volunteer to rake leaves, shovel snow, mow a lawn, or pull weeds for a neighbor. If you’ve already got the tools out to do your own yard, you might as well double-down and make somebody’s day.
Cook A Meal For Someone
Have your kids help you prepare a meal to take to someone who’s sick, someone who just had a baby, someone who lost a loved one, or someone who just moved into the neighborhood. Another option is to invite someone over for dinner… just because.
Share Your Umbrella
Weather can catch anyone off guard. Carry an oversized umbrella or keep a spare in the car to share with someone who wasn’t ready for the downpour. They could be waiting at a bus stop, walking out of the grocery store, or picking their kids up from school. Getting them from point A to point B might not seem like a big deal to you, but it’s sure to mean a lot to them.
Pay Someone A Heartfelt Compliment
People hear negative criticism all the time. Unfortunately many hear more negative feedback than positive. Turn someone’s day around by paying them a heartfelt compliment. Tell a stranger how well-behaved their child has been in the grocery store line (only if they’ve been well-behaved); ask to see a customer service rep’s supervisor so you can brag on them; or tell a friend what you most appreciate about them. You don’t need a special occasion to share kind words.
Hold The Door
This simple gesture may be commonplace in the South, but it should be common courtesy everywhere. Hold the door open for a deliveryman trying to navigate a dolly full of goods inside. Hold the elevator door for that person who’s in too much of a hurry to wait for the next ride. Hold the door open at church for the elderly couple pushing walkers. Hold the door open for the person coming in behind you at the post office. It doesn’t have to be an act of chivalry; it can be an act of kindness.
Write A Letter To A Soldier
There’s not a lot to look forward to when you’re deployed overseas, but receiving mail can make a soldiers day. Many websites and organizations provide the opportunity to pen a letter to a soldier. Who knows? You might get a pen pal out of the deal.
Even if your kids are too young to participate in some of these acts now, kindness is contagious. Your kids learn by watching you, so tell them what you’re doing and why.