By Vicki Little
Kindness and love are contagious. Even in the midst of a rough day, a kind gesture from someone can turn your whole day around. And usually, it leaves someone feeling so loved and happy that they, in turn, want to make someone else feel the same way. Misunderstandings can be avoided, friendships can be made or mended, and strangers can become friends when people just take a bit of time to step back and intentionally do something that will make other people feel good. What better lesson is there to teach our children than the lesson of being kind? Even better, the more you engage in these acts of kindness, the more they become a habit. Gather your family and spread a little kindness and cheer with these 25 simple acts of kindness.
- Paint kindness stones and leave them for others to find. This is very simple, just get some medium-sized rocks, paint them in neat colors and designs, add a positive note on them with permanent marker and then leave them at parks, grocery stores, schools, sidewalks, etc.
- Make sticky notes of positive affirmations and leave them on the bathroom stall door or mirror in a public place.
- Send dessert over to another family at a restaurant.
- Volunteer your time making crafts with kids at a children’s hospital or reading to small children in the library.
- Organize and run a BINGO night at a nursing home.
- Give your bus driver a cup of coffee or tea when your child gets on the bus in the morning.
- Send a care package to an elderly family member (or just a group care package with letters and treats to a nursing home).
- Tape coins to a parking meter….or better yet add some coins to one that has expired. You can also leave an extra dollar in a vending machine for the next person who comes along.
- Leave a positive Yelp review or talk to the manager about a server or employee who did a great job.
- Spend a family afternoon volunteering at a women’s or homeless shelter.
- Shovel a neighbor’s walkway, bring their trash bins back up to their garage door, mow their lawn, or walk their dog for them.
- Send a hand-written letter to your favorite teacher letting him or her know how much they mean to your family. Include a gift card to a spa or restaurant for a little treat to say thanks.
- Be extra kind in traffic – and let your children know that you have done it. Instead of grumbling, allow the car to merge ahead of you with a smile and a wave, resist the urge to honk if they aren’t going right when the light turns green and comment that their hesitation may have prevented a car accident, or simply smile at people in the car next to you while you are waiting at a light.
- Bring towels and food to your local animal shelter. Check to see if they have volunteer opportunities available to walk or play with the animals or help clean the cages.
- Give a note of gratitude and possibly a little gift card treat to someone you wouldn’t normally think of. There are many people who do so much for us, but are often in the background, such as the custodian of your school or church, the delivery drivers who take care not to let your packages get wet, a security guard at your grocery store, the lifeguard at the pool, or the front office of the school.
- Take extra sidewalk chalk, kites, or bubbles to the park and share them with new friends.
- Let someone go ahead of you in the checkout lane – especially if they have fewer items, young children, are elderly or injured, or pregnant.
- On Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Easter, take a special treat to your local hospital, fire station, or police station to say thanks for working on the holiday.
- Bring flowers to someone you see all the time but who would least expect the gesture. Many people brighten our days without us realizing it, such as the clerk whose line we always go to, the bank teller who gives us extra suckers, the receptionist at the doctor’s office who always asks how we have been, the butcher at the grocery store who knows exactly what we will order, or the person at the front office who remembered to ask if we are feeling better.
- Hand out water bottles or popsicles to construction workers who are fixing your local streets, the lawn-care professionals who keep the neighborhood mowed and looking nice, or the trash men who keep your containers from falling onto your driveway.
- Offer to babysit for free so a young couple can get a date night.
- Join a meal train for someone who is ill or just had a baby – even if you don’t know them. You can easily find them on your friends’ Facebook pages!
- Find a GoFundMe that your family would like to bless with an anonymous donation.
- Offer to drive a friend or neighbor to or from school so their parents can get some errands done or have extra time to themselves.
- Buy lunch for a friend! You can do this as a whole family or send extra money to school with your child so they can find a new friend and buy him or her lunch.
Vicki Little is a preschool teacher with two children. A Colorado native, she spends her time writing, sitting in the bleachers for her daughter’s gymnastics, and engaging in spirited debates with her son. In her free time…well, she is still waiting for some of that.
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