Simple Kindness Acts Your Kids Can Practice
Did you know that February 13 – 17 is Random Acts of Kindness Week? While I’m all about spreading kindness year-round, I definitely celebrate this week with my kids.
Kindness is contagious. When you do something kind for someone, they are inspired to do something kind for someone else. With all of the negativity in our country lately, and general life challenges, we can all use more kindness in our world. You lose nothing by spreading a little kindness in your community, but you can gain so much.
Personal Benefits of Kindness
If you need real, substantial benefits, to kindness, take a look at these:
- You will be happier: When you do something for someone else, you will be happier. The good feeling you get is due to a biochemical change in your brain. The brain’s natural versions of morphine and heroin, which are known as endogenous opioids. This causes elevated levels of dopamine, which gives you a natural high. Hmm…a runner’s high without having to run. Sign me up!
- You will have a healthier heart: Kindness is accompanied by emotional warmth, which produces the hormone oxytocin in the brain and throughout the body. Oxytocin causes the release of a chemical that dilates (expands) blood vessels, reducing blood pressure.
- You will slow the aging process: The oxytocin released from emotional warmth reduces levels of free radicals and inflammation in the cardiovascular system, which slows aging at the source.
- Kindness improves your relationships: When we are kind to each other, we feel a new connection and relationships are strengthened.
Simple Acts of Kindness to do During Random Acts of Kindness Week
The benefits speak for themselves, so what are you waiting for? Get out there and do kind things with your family.
To get the ball rolling, I’ll share what I’m planning for Random Acts of Kindness week. I will be volunteering at my son’s elementary school during lunchtime to help kids make Valentine’s Day greetings for our local senior communities. I’ll also be making a few brown bag lunches for the homeless in our community (see the bullet below). Aside from those big endeavors, I’ll probably do a few of the smaller kindness activities on the list that don’t take a lot of money or time.
Here are some other acts of kindness to do by yourself or with your kids.
- Make Valentine’s Day cards for seniors in an assisted living facility, kids at your local children’s hospital or soldiers stationed abroad. All you need is some construction paper, crayons and markers and you’re good to go!
- Feed parking meters in your city. If you live in a city with lots of parking meters like I do, take your kids for a walk and feed meters that are running low on time. It will cost you a few dollars, but you’ll make someone’s day!
- Collect items for a charity. Collect old blankets and towels for a dog rescue or gently used jackets for a homeless shelter. Get together with a few friends to gather more items to make an even bigger impact.
- Bake a treat for police or fire fighters. Bake some cookies or muffins for those that put their lives on the line for others.
- Leave a special gift for an elderly neighbor. You can bake something or buy a small plant and surprise an elderly neighbor with our kindness.
- Do a volunteer day with your kids. Pick a non profit that accepts kids and work side by side for the betterment of others. Possible non profits are animal rescues, community clean ups or a food bank (depending on age).
- Help someone in need. When my oldest was a baby, I was stuck at the top of the stairs of the mall food court because the elevator was broken. I had to take my son out of his stroller, carry my diaper bag down the stairs, then go back up and carry the stroller and child down. Not one person helped me in a food court full of people. It was kind of shocking. Don’t be those people. It has been almost eight years and I still remember how aweful it felt to have several people literally walk past a new mom in need.
- Help the homeless or battered women in your community. There is a woman in my community who has started a homeless brown bag lunch program. She leaves a box on her front porch on select Saturdays for people to leave brown bag lunches that include a sandwich, piece of fruit, water bottle and a treat in. She then spends the afternoon delivering the lunches to homeless people in the community. This takes a bit more organization and planning, but what a great idea!
- Be patient. Don’t make the elderly person in front of you at the grocery store feel rushed. Don’t sigh and get frustrated by the person at the bank who is taking a long time at the counter. Just be patient. These inconveniences will only put you back a few minutes. Don’t stress yourself and someone else out over a few minutes.
- Pay it forward. If you haven’t heard about this, it basically means pay for the car behind you in line at a drive through (or pay for someone somewhere). There once was a pay it forward chain at a Starbucks that lasted 10 hours and 750 transactions! That is a lot of random acts of kindness!
- Spend quality time with a lonely loved one. Do you have an aunt who is home-bound? Set aside time to visit with that person. You’ll make their day and reap the benefits of kindness.
You don’t need to go nuts finding the perfect act of kindness or doing something Pinterest perfect to let people know you are doing an act of kindness. Just come up with something nice to do for someone else to get the ball rolling. Sometimes we overthink things to the point of paralysis. In the words of Nike, “Just Do It.”
Do you have random acts of kindness activities planned? I’d love to hear it!