How to Teach Kids About Random Acts of Kindness Day

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How do we change the world? One random act of kindness at a time.

— Morgan Freeman

A random compliment from a stranger. Letting someone cut in front of you in line. Helping someone carry their heavy grocery bags. Buying a gift card to your favorite coffee shop to give away. These are just a few examples of random acts of kindness. People tend to underestimate the power of a random act of kindness, according to research from the Journal of Experimental Psychology, and that can hold people back from doing nice things for others. But these kind acts are a win-win for all involved. 

Random Acts of Kindness Day

Random Acts of Kindness Day 2023 falls on Friday, February 17—and it’s the perfect excuse to start encouraging your student to do good deeds. As they hold doors and dole out compliments, they’ll learn valuable lessons about generosity, connectivity, gratitude, and how great it can feel to do something nice without expecting anything in return.

Why Are Random Acts of Kindness for Kids Important?

Doing good feels good.

Researchers have found that the area of the brain associated with pleasure is activated by charitable thoughts and actions. Psychologists call this phenomenon “helper’s high.” Random acts of kindness for kids can lead to increased feelings of well-being and connectedness. 

Kindness, health, and happiness are all connected

In her book Raising Happiness, Dr. Christine Carter describes the health and happiness benefits that children enjoy when they are kind. “Kindness makes us happy,” she writes. “This may be especially true for kids. Adolescents who identify their primary motive as helping others are three times happier than those who lack such altruistic motivation.”

Kindness acts for kids can be contagious

According to a study conducted by Jamil Zaki, director of the Stanford University Social Neuroscience Lab, kindness can even be contagious. “We find that people imitate not only the particulars of positive actions, but also the spirit underlying them,” Zaki writes in Scientific American. “This implies that kindness itself is contagious, and that it can cascade across people, taking on new forms along the way.”

Two children show each other kindness on random acts of kindness day.

Random Acts of Kindness Ideas for Kids

  1. Together with your child, gather toys, books, and clothing that they no longer use and donate the items to a local charity or nonprofit.
  2. Participate in the Kindness Rocks Project, a community undertaking where people paint inspirational messages on rocks and leave them in public spaces for others to find.
  3. Let someone who’s in a hurry go in front of you in line.
  4. Donate pet food to your nearby animal shelter, and if your child is an animal lover, maybe offer to take some dogs for a walk.
  5. Spend an afternoon picking up litter or trash somewhere in your community.
  6. Take your children to the grocery store to pick out nonperishable food items to donate to a food pantry.
  7. Challenge your child to give a compliment to a stranger.
  8. Leave a thoughtful note on a random car.
  9. Bake cookies and take them to your town’s police department or fire station along with a thank-you note.

The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation has lots of other ideas for kids, but it might be a fun exercise for you and your kids to brainstorm ideas together.

Kindness for Kids Role Models

If your children learn from home, their schedules are likely more flexible than those of their peers in traditional brick-and-mortar schools. Take advantage of this by integrating acts of kindness for kids and social altruistic activities into your academic planning. You and your child can even read books about kindness for inspiration! These activities will help your children build connections and understand their place in the community and the world at large.

Encourage your children to see themselves as kindness ambassadors, spreading the safe, nurturing, and welcoming learning environment you have in your home into the world through compassionate words and good deeds.

To learn how you can be more involved in your children’s education, with opportunities to help them learn about kindness, community building, and connectivity, visit the website for Connections Academy online public school. Or to learn about online private school, visit Pearson Online Academy’s website.

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