In this current world climate, where it seems that cruelty can often go unchecked, and true kindness seems harder to find than it should be, we find ourselves struggling as parents. We struggle with how to teach our children about kindness in this crazy world, and while there are many ways we can react to this struggle, let us focus on the most important component. The easiest way to teach our children something is not by explanation, or by lecturing; it is by example and by experience. The best and easiest way to teach our children to be kind is by resonating kindness and engaging in acts of kindness with our children. Below are ten random acts of kindness, some easier than others, that can be accomplished with children.
Deliver positive affirmations to your neighbors.
Think of these as little compliments that you pay to your neighbors, but instead of speaking them you anonymously deliver them. These can be found online, or you can write them out by hand together and decorate them. Even little affirmations such as, “You Are Strong” and, “The Work You Do Matters” can make a world of difference to somebody.
Hold a cold-weather accessories drive.
Everybody has old scarves, hats and other cold-weather accessories that they don’t wear. Work together to collect gently used hats, scarves, and other such items to donate to a local clothing closet. This is the time of year that is hardest on the homeless population, and having a hat or scarf can make a huge difference.
Bake cookies to deliver to your local fire station or police station.
Everybody loves cookies, so this is a pretty easy one. Go ahead and make up a batch of your favorite cookies and hand deliver them to your local fire station or police station. It may be a good idea to phone ahead to check for allergies and ask when the best time to deliver is.
Hold a lemonade stand and donate the proceeds to a charity of their choice.
Get your child’s philanthropic spirit started early and let them chose their own charity to fundraise for. If they are too young to do their own research, pick a few options based on their interests and allow them to choose which one they want to move forward with. Help them market and plan for their stand and then hand-deliver the proceeds afterward.
Cook and deliver dinner to a friend who could use some help.
Talk with your children about some life changes that can be challenging for people, such as divorce, death of a family member, or addition of a new baby. Then discuss if you have any friends that are going through these (allow them to lead this discussion—children are a lot more attuned to grown-up problems than we generally realize). When you’ve picked a friend, make their favorite dinner and deliver it to them.
Donate old clothes and toys together.
This one is a family affair, as we all could use some wardrobe culling on occasion. Discuss the reasons why we donate our old clothes and toys, and how kind it is to give to those who need it. This will simultaneously empty your clutter and fill your hearts.
Volunteer at a local animal shelter.
Who doesn’t love playing with kittens and puppies?! It is important for animals in shelters to be socialized to help them get adopted into their fur-ever homes. This is also a fantastic way to get the animal cuddle and play time without the responsibility of having a pet.
Make it a habit to give at least one person a compliment every day.
You know that uplifting feeling you get when a stranger compliments your outfit or the like? It feels even better to pass it on. Make it a part of your dinner routine to share what compliments you passed out during the day, with a minimum of one daily.
Write letters to somebody who made a difference in your lives.
We all have people who have influenced our lives for the better: old teachers, mentors, encouraging friends, etc. Instead of just thinking about how much of a difference they made in our lives, write and mail them a hand-penned letter from the heart.
Make and distribute “kindness rocks.”
A new sensation that is sweeping the nation is painting rocks with positive messages and then leaving them in public places for others to find. This has become an enjoyable pastime for many youths, and it’s a fun, creative way to spread kindness within your community.