As parents, we are responsible for teaching our children about empathy and generosity. A great way to do this is to perform random acts of kindness every day. Whether it’s having our child do something nice, or making certain they witness us doing something for someone else, both instances teach our children lessons they need to learn. Random acts of kindness are essential to our well-being. We shift focus away from ourselves and experience a true sense of joy in giving to others. It’s human nature to want to help others.  Not only will it leave you and your child feeling good about yourselves, there’s really no way of knowing the difference it will make in the recipient’s life.

Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.  Scott Adams

This is the perfect time of year to focus on others around us. Below is a list of 40 random acts of kindness for children, as well as for moms and dads to do. Try and do one a day, or shoot for a few a day. Just focus the next 40 days on performing a random act of kindness. Together, every one of us can make a difference.

  1. Say good morning to your teacher, principal, school officials and classmates.
  2. Donate food to your food bank; either purchase food or go through your pantry.
  3. Donate pet supplies to the shelter and go pet some of the animals.
  4. Help a sibling do a chore or other job.
  5. Donate books you no longer read or need.
  6. Bring breakfast to your school teacher.
  7. Write grandparents a letter / draw a picture and mail it to them.
  8. Do an extra household chore without being asked.
  9. Sit with someone at lunch that looks lonely or who doesn’t have very many friends.
  10. Take a treat and/or thank you note to the janitors at your school.
  11. Take a treat and/or thank you card to the school librarian.
  12. Plan a playdate with someone new at school.
  13. Take a treat to the local fire station.
  14. Leave a Dunkin Donuts gift card and thank you note in your mailbox for your mail person.
  15. Compliment at least 5 people in one day (this is also a great challenge for kids).
  16. Leave an extra large tip for a server/waiter along with a note thanking them.
  17. Leave one dollar bills around a dollar store (especially in the toy section).
  18. Pay for the person behind you in a fast food drive-through.
  19. Donate coloring books to a hospital waiting room.
  20. Hold the door open for people behind you.
  21. Smile at every single person you see for one whole day (makes a great family challenge!)
  22. Write a thank you note for a teacher or coach or someone who has influenced you and mail it to them.
  23. Take a treat or note to a neighbor or friend who could use a pick-me-up.
  24. Write thank you notes or put together care packages for those who are serving our country in the military.
  25. Have a bake sale or fundraiser and donate all the earnings to a local charity.
  26. Go buy inexpensive socks, beanies, and mittens (the dollar store has lots of great ones!) and deliver them to  a homeless shelter.
  27. Leave some extra money in the vending machine (or even tape it to the outside with a note that says “ This treat’s on me!).
  28. Buy a little treat or give a thank you note for the cashier at the grocery store.
  29. Clean out your garage or storage area and give stuff away for free on Craigslist.
  30. Donate blood.
  31. Invite someone who lives alone over for dinner.
  32. For one day, try to pick up at least three pieces of trash wherever you are.
  33. Send unexpected flowers to someone you appreciate.
  34. Smile at 5 complete strangers in one day.
  35. Make a homemade bird feeder and hang it outside (like a pinecone rolled in peanut butter and birdseed).
  36. Donate diapers and wipes to a local women’s/family shelter.
  37. Decorate some pillowcases and take them to a local children’s hospital.
  38. Collect jackets, blankets, and shoes and take them to a homeless shelter.
  39.  Tape bags of microwave popcorn to the Redbox rental machine (I love this one!)
  40.  Tell someone how special they are at least once every day.