Teach Your Children To Give Random Acts Of Kindness

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
~ Leo Buscaglia

A ripple is an amazing part of nature. A rock causes a huge splash at the beginning. There is a middle where the circle is perfect. Then the tiny ripples go out from there. It is a perfect symbol of for people who do nice things for someone they don’t know.

Think of the many things we try to teach our children in life: manners, good study habits, politeness, saving money, respect for your elders and don’t do what everyone else does.

But do you ever think about teaching kindness? It sounds very simple but sometimes I think we expect our children to be naturally kind but in fact like any other personality trait, only a few have kindness as a natural part of their personality. Children seem to be more likely not to be kind.

Did you know this week is Random Acts of Kindness Week? What a perfect week coinciding with Valentine’s Day, to teach kindness and love for people we don’t even know.

The RAK week fits in perfectly with the story of Laura, a mom at our preschool. She had seen a link to the Random Acts of Kindness organization and decided to introduce this concept to her kids. She knew that children are very concrete and usually need to see what is happening in their world to understand it. Sending school supplies far away to a place like Africa is a very good thing, but her 5 and 6 year old couldn’t imagine it. Laura thought the kids should start with something local. So they started out with taping quarters to the gumball machine for kids without money. Isn’t that a great idea? They brought a big container of Starbuck’s coffee for all the moms at her daughter’s dance class. Then the dance teacher brought the unfinished coffee to a dinner she was going to. She paid it forward!! And this family is just getting started!

This got me thinking that teaching children to love anonymously is a great gift to give them. Here are some ideas of teaching your children Random Acts of Kindness. The first 13 ideas can be done by your children themselves. The next ideas need you as the parent to help out.

30 Random Acts Of Kindness To Do With Your Children!

1. Smile at five strangers
2. Hold the door open for someone
3. Help a neighbor with light yard work
4. Let someone go in front of you in line
5. Return a shopping cart
6. Pick up trash in your neighborhood
7. Wash a car
8. Say good morning to people
9. Complain less
10. Make someone laugh
11. Share a toy
12. Be a positive person
13. Compliment a friend

Child with parents:
14. Bring canned food to a food bank
15. Hand out popsicles at a park
16. Carry around lollypops for crying kids at stores
17. Put something nice in the mailbox for the mail man
18. Say thank you to the bus driver
19. Pay for the person behind you in a drive through or at the toll booth.
20. Tape quarters to the gumball machine
21. Leave flowers or candy at someone’s door, ring the doorbell and run away! (We do this at Christmas for a special family each year for 12 days…but that’s another post!)
22. Sponsor a family at Christmas
23. Donate to the local food bank
24. Make cookies for your teacher
25. Hand out a $2 bill when you catch someone doing something nice. (We do this because someone did it for us)
26. Put a gift card on someone’s windshield
27. Bring a neighbor dinner
28. Shovel a neighbor’s walk without telling them
29. Send a real letter to someone
30. Leave kind notes on other people’s windshield

Please head over to a great site called Love Rally to find out more monthly ideas!!

My kids and I have done a few of these ideas. We plan to do them all in the next 12 months. I’ll update everyone During the course of the year! Please, write more ideas in the comments below!

You and your children can change the world, one person at a time!



HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY EVERYONE
!

“Fill each day with life and heart. There is no pleasure in the world comparable to the delight and satisfaction that a good person takes in doing good.”
~ John Tilloston (1630-1694); Archbishop Of Canterbury

This entry was posted in Holidays, Kindness, Parenting and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Teach Your Children To Give Random Acts Of Kindness

  1. Vidya Sury says:

    Quite the perfect post for Valentine’s Day, Betsy. With kindness, the world is a much better place. And teaching it from the youngest age builds better people. Hmm. You’ve got two readers reading this post from my house :-D.

    My Mother actually made Vidur keep score everyday in a little diary – where he would note all the good things he had done that day. This was his exercise when he said his prayers before he went to bed – just three things was all he was required to note. Over time, we found the list growing. Today, when I read that old diary, my eyes fill with tears and I feel wonderful. I am sure my Mom is smiling at us too.

    Vidur doesn’t keep that diary any more. He fills the Happiness Jar instead. But before bedtime prayers, he lists to me the three things he did today. And goes to bed happy.

    Happy Valentine’s Day to you, dearest Betsy. I am so happy we know each other! With love, Vidya

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  2. sheila says:

    Wonderful! Love this, and great list! I’ve done a number of these and will make it a goal to do every one of them this year, very cool!

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  3. Kristen Shaw says:

    Hi Zen Mama:

    Oh girl you are so right on the money totally.

    You have given very clear direction on the ways in which we can perform random acts of kindness and respect for ourselves.

    Thank you so much. Please keep it coming.

    Kristen

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  4. Betsy says:

    You, John, Oliver and Philip all proved the power of love and kindness this
    weekend with your great help with our move. We couldn’t have done it
    without you, and we sincerely appreciated your not-so-random act of
    kindness and generosity.
    Love,
    Mom & Dad

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  5. sheila says:

    :)
    thank you from Love Rally
    :)

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  6. Jen says:

    Betsy,
    This is so inspiring! I love how you break down the lists and demonstrate that modeling behaviors to our children is a very powerful thing indeed!!

    I take my children to share their gift of music in nursing homes. This is paying it forward from my dad doing that with me as a child and my brothers and sisters. It brings so much happiness to the residents, AND gives my kids healthy performance experiences and practices in kindness and empathy. A win-win for sure!!

    Happy Valentine’s Day, to a beautiful soul!
    Love,
    Jen

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  7. Betsy, this is such a wonderful and timely post for Valentine’s Day and beyond.

    More than ever before, the world today needs more kindness – and what better than random acts of kindness!

    A while back I wrote about 29 ways to carry out random acts of kindness – so well done for going one better than me:-)

    And happy Valentine’s Day, Betsy!

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  8. Suzanne says:

    Betsy,
    Happy VALENTINE’S Day. :) I’ve been largely off twitter and now, bumping into you and this beautiful post on kindness (which I came to from a twitter search on positive parenting…) I remember WHY I love (and miss) Twitter. It introduced me to you many moons ago and has now brought me full circle back to your blog.

    I will be sharing your list with my girls the moment they get home from school today. Namaste, and may your day be BLESSED with much love and light around you! ^_^

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  9. Hi Betsy,
    Happy Valentine’s Day! This is a wonderful idea that you’ve shared with us. Instead of spending so much on expensive gifts and activities, we can give out lots of love even in small ways.
    I know first hand how a simple act of kindness can change a person’s attitude towards you and if we constantly do it, then our world will be a better place indeed.
    Thanks for sharing your list. It’s never too late to start again.

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  10. So many people think they have to do “big” things to make a difference and, therefore, end up doing nothing. This is a great reminder that all those little things are what really matter and truly make a difference.

    Thanks for all the great ideas Betsy! I’m going to let my kids choose the ones they want to practice and see how many new ones they can come up with.

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  11. Sibyl says:

    Love this article Betsy:) The lists are phenomenal. I am working on doing all of them this week:)

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  12. Aileen says:

    Truly Awesome! I can’t help but smile while just reading this – and so many fun ideas pop into my mind for random acts of kindness. Make me think I need to put them on a calender so I’ll commit to them.

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  13. I love doing random acts of kindness. I love that you don’t necessarily know what the impact is, but that it could be huge. Great reminder, Betsy!

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  14. Unknown Mami says:

    You are very good at sharing kindness. Thank you!

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  15. Being good and kind to others is one of the pillars of our faith. We began teaching our kids the importance of kindness at a very young age and now it’s a part of their nature. They know how good it feels to give someone a smile, help someone with a chore or problem, or any other little random act of kindness. They know the reward is in the action and never expect anything in return.

    So happy to have discovered your blog through SITS. I look forward to reading more of it.

    Peace. ;)

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  16. Prakash says:

    Yes, a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring these are play an important role to grow up socially. we have to teach our children these kind things.
    Thanks for this nice article…….

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  17. Hi Betsy,

    This is wonderful to teach children at a young age the value of giving to others. I love your suggestions. They are great for families of any age.

    I recently read 29 Gifts: How Giving Can Change Your Life by Cami Walker. She talks about her journey of giving for 29 days straight in different ways to different people and the meaning that the experience had for her. She challenges the reader to do the same. I gave for 29 days, and logged what I gave and who I gave to in a journal just for me to read. It felt so good to give to others with no thought of anything in return. It’s been awhile, so I’m ready for another 29 day stint.

    Very inspiring post – Betsy – Thanks!

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  18. JennyBean says:

    Betsy, you put me to shame! Can I send two little boys to you for rearing?

    BTW: saw an email from you. Catching up on everything. Will respond tonight.

    xoxo

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    Betsy Reply:

    I’d love to have your little boys! No need to feel shame! Remember we haven’t done all these things… just planning to!!

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  20. prabhat says:

    hi zen..
    the first line is really amazing if you feel it…
    today we are loosing our moral values…gone are the days when everyone was happy..
    we should teach our children everything good …which will help them..
    nice post

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  21. Great lists and ideas here. That week while my little guy and I were at the grocery store we bought five balloons and he gave one to the first five children he saw in the store. It was completely sweet.

    [Reply]

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