7 Random Acts of Kindness for Kids

Make kindness a habit in your family.

It’s easy to get so caught up teaching your child how to write their letters and how to cut their food with a knife that you can forget to teach your child to be kind. And some parents may worry teaching kindness could actually cause a child to potentially lose their edge in today’s competitive world.

But teaching kindness is valuable. Research says teaching kindness has a positive influence on a range of academic, health, and social outcomes for kids.

When kindness is taught in school, children experience increased self-esteem, increased motivation to learn, improved attendance, and decreased bullying and violence.

Studies also show kids who engage in random acts of kindness are more likely to be accepted by their peers. Their good deeds improve their well-being and help them develop positive perceptions of their world.

Fortunately, recent research suggests that children today—as self-absorbed as they may seem —actually tend to exhibit more empathy toward others than in previous generations. While your child may pick up a few lessons on kindness by observing their peers, they'll also learn from the example set by their parents. Perform random acts of kindness with your child to teach them how to be generous, compassionate, and giving.

Of course, your child’s acts of kindness may not necessarily be all that ‘random,’ since they’ll most likely need some assistance from you. But, teaching them to do nice things for other people now could be the key to helping them recognize opportunities to show kindness later in life.

Donate Items to People in Need

Teach your child to perform random acts of kindness.
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It’s nice to get kids involved in fundraising, but sometimes fundraisers are too abstract. They don’t fully grasp the concept of who they are raising money for or how the money is being used.

It’s better to get them directly involved in donating items. Here are a few ways you can encourage your child to donate items to people in need:

  • Plant a vegetable garden and assign regular duties to your child, such as watering the plants, pulling weeds, and harvesting the vegetables. Then, give the vegetables to other people.
  • Gather gently used toys and donate them to an orphanage, homeless shelter, or domestic violence shelter. Encourage your child to pick out which toys they no longer need. Talk to your child about where the toys are going and let them pick out which toys they are willing to donate.
  • Help your child identify clothes that they can donate to other children. Give them some say over which items they want to donate.
  • Make a meal and deliver it to an elderly neighbor, a relative, or a friend.
  • Donate gently used books to the library or a charity.

Write Thank You Notes

​Thank you notes don’t have to involve forcing your kids to write letters to everyone after they've received gifts. Instead, teach your child there are always people you can thank outside of holidays.

Point out all the people who work behind the scenes to make life better and encourage your child to thank them. Here are a few ways to thank people:

  • Help your child write thank you notes to people they appreciate. They can draw pictures for Grandma or give a special card to a daycare provider, Sunday School teacher, or family friend.
  • Create special notes for other people who assist your family—such as the mail carrier, the person who cuts your child’s hair, or a doctor.
  • Write letters to thank the police officers or fire fighters in your community for the work that they do.

Do Chores for Someone

Provide acts of service for people who may need a helping hand. When you make it a regular habit to do so, your child will learn to recognize people in need and opportunities when they can pitch in. Here are some ways you can perform chores for others with your child:

  • Identify a neighbor who could use some help with yard work. As a family, rake the leaves, cut the grass, or weed the garden.
  • Regularly donate time to help their grandparents around the house.
  • Encourage your child to surprise a sibling by doing one of their chores for them.

Care for Animals

Children often love doing acts of kindness that involve animals. Here are a few ways you can care for animals:

  • Ask to volunteer at a local animal shelter. Some shelters may allow kids to assist with simple chores, such as putting away donations or getting food ready for the animals.
  • Some animal shelters allow kids to read to dogs. Inquire about an opportunity for your child to share stories or read books to animals who may feel lonely at the shelter.
  • Volunteer to walk someone’s dog or care for a pet whose owner will be out of town.
  • Help your child pick out a special treat for your pet.

Make a Gift for Someone

Encourage your child to create small gifts they can give away to others. Gifts could be simple crafts that they make or pictures that they draw. If they earn an allowance, encourage them to spend their own money on craft items. Here are a few ways your child can make gifts for someone else:

  • Provide your child with art supplies so they can create gifts. A homemade card, a simple bird feeder, or a painting can brighten someone’s day.
  • Rather than encouraging your child to write out lengthy wish lists for the holidays, help them to create a list of kind acts and homemade gifts they can give away instead.
  • Write down the names of several friends, family members, and neighbors on slips of paper. Put the papers in a jar. Once a week, draw a name and work with your child to identify a gift you can make for that person.

Give Compliments

Random acts of kindness can be as simple as saying something nice to someone. Teach your child to make it a habit to offer compliments and praise other people’s efforts. Here are a few ways to get your child involved in giving compliments:

  • Set a goal at the beginning of the day to give away kind words and compliments. Whether your child says, “I like your sneakers,” to another child at the playground, or they say, “Your hair looks good today,” to their sister, talk about giving compliments to people.
  • Carry around colored note cards. And let your child write small compliments on them to leave for other people. Leave one behind on the table at a restaurant to compliment your server or leave a card for the company who takes care of your yard to compliment them on the job they do.

Spread Some Cheer

Random acts of kindness can include any simple gesture that brightens someone else’s day. If you purposely spread cheer on a regular basis, kindness will become like second nature to your child. Here are a few easy ways to get your child involved in showing kindness to others:

  • Cut some flowers from your garden (or buy some flowers at the store) and give them to someone.
  • Visit someone who could use some company, such as an elderly neighbor or someone who may not get out of the house often.
  • Volunteer at a nursing home. Some nursing homes may welcome children visiting with the residents. Or you may be able to deliver homemade items to the residents, like pictures your child has colored.
  • Pack extra drinks and snacks when you go to the playground and offer to share with the other children.
  • Choose a different person to give special surprises to each month. Then, work with your child to identify kind deeds you can do for that person. See how long you can keep it a secret.
  • Start a lemonade stand and give away lemonade for free.
  • Say, "Let's see if we can identify some people to help today." Then go through your day looking for opportunities to hold the door for someone or to let someone go in front of you in line at the store.
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14 Sources
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