A fun way for parents to promote creativity and compassion is to perform random acts of kindness as a family.
Practically speaking, if you want to make a habit of this, it’s a good idea to present it as a challenge: to complete a certain number of acts by a certain date or, conversely, to perform a random act of kindness every week, month, holiday, or whatever works for your family.
There are no rules to this, but random acts of kindness are usually performed anonymously and unexpectedly. This isn’t about receiving recognition for the kindness but for the joy in knowing you’ve given to others in some way.
Parents can further instill a sense of empathy by encouraging the family to think through the needs or wishes of their loved ones, members of their community, or society in general and planning their random acts accordingly.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Deliver hot chocolate to sanitation workers on a cold morning.
- Leave a snack or gift card for your mail carrier.
- Deliver cookies to the local fire and police departments.
- Deliver holiday cards to a senior center.
- Leave coupons next to their corresponding product at the grocery store.
- Deliver pet food, toys, and blankets to an animal shelter.
- Donate toys or books to a homeless shelter.
- Give overly generous tips to service personnel who assist you.
- Deliver a meal to a family going through a tough time.
- Deliver anonymous compliments—slip notes of praise in mailboxes or bags.
- Send a handwritten note for no reason.
- Leave change near a vending machine.
- Donate food to a food pantry.
- Donate books to a library or school.
- Leave heads up pennies on the sidewalk.
- Pay another family’s bill at a restaurant.
- Frame a meaningful photo and give to a family member.
- Let someone ahead of you in line.
- Send an email to a business owner describing the wonderful service you received from his or her employee.
- Pick up litter in a public place.
- Hand out umbrellas in the rain.
- Donate to a loved one’s favorite charity in their honor.
- Host friends for dinner.
- Thank your former teachers for their impact on your life.
- Thank parents or grandparents for all they’ve done for you.
- Offer to babysit for a friend when they need it most.
- Donate books or craft supplies to a pediatric hospital.
- Pull your neighbors’ trash cans to the curb on trash day.
- Check in on elderly friends and family and help them with house chores, fixing things, or errands.
- Leave inspiring books on the seats of public transportation.
- Be friendly to someone who is shy or lonely.
- Leave microwave popcorn packs at movie rental kiosks.
- Raise or collect money and send it to families in need during the holiday season.
- Add money to expired parking meters.
- Forgive a debt.
- Bring a care package to a sick loved one.
- Rake your neighbor’s leaves.
The possibilities are endless, but the results are always the same—a renewed appreciation for the abundance in your life and enhanced awareness of the power of compassion.