The giving season is quickly approaching and has me thinking not only about ways I can make an impact, but how my children can too. Most random acts of kindness we see in the media cost money - things like paying someone’s toll, paying the bill at a restaurant or the coffee drive through. But what does it look like when there’s no money involved? How do I teach a four and one-year old kindness? Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Things you can do
- Assist someone with a struggle. That could mean holding the door, carrying groceries, walking someone across the street, putting someone’s shopping cart away, or assisting someone who can’t quite reach something on the top shelf.
- Give someone a compliment: I love that color, that hat, your style, or your smile.
- Pick wildflowers and give them to someone. Leave them on someone’s car or doorstep with a kind note.
- Leave notes of encouragement or inspiration in random public places. You never know how a few words can change someone’s day for the better.
- Let someone in front of you while in traffic or give up a good parking spot. Sacrificing a few seconds of your time can mean a lot to someone’s day.
- Write a thank you note. Mail it, post it online, comment on a blog - take the time to send in feedback in any way you can. You can write it in appreciation for someone’s kindness, your relationship, or even just their hard work.
- Invite someone you know to join you for dinner at your house.
- Clip extra coupons you can’t use and hand them to a stranger in the store or leave it by the product.
- When you travel, save the soap and toiletries and donate them to your local homeless shelter.
- Donate blood.
- Smile at everyone you see. Wave to passing cars. Kindness is contagious.
- Volunteer. The possibilities are endless regardless of how much time you have.
- Make and share positivity bags. Check out "You've been stung."
Things kids can do
- Spend quality time with the elderly – maybe play a game or set up a reading time. Gather your friends and their kids and work with your local senior center. Kids can bring such joy to a senior.
- Create thank you notes and artwork for local EMS, police, or your community. As you do, talk to your kids about kindness and gratitude. Color, paint, even add some glitter to make it shine! Deliver it in person if you can.
- Go to a public area (with permission) and draw pictures in side-walk chalk. Write uplifting quotes or lyrics and allow kids to create a masterpiece.
- Do something kind for your favorite neighbor or community spot. It could be planting flowers, pulling weeds, helping to rake leaves, or even picking up trash.
- Donate clothes and toys - pull out a few things to donate to a local child in need.
- In honor of their birthday, instead of presents, collect donations to a cause of their choice. Great options include Food for the Hungry, dignity kits for the homeless, books for kids in need, pet supplies for animal shelters - the possibilities are endless.
Have any to add? Please share them with us!