It takes very little to be kind to others. It’s something I hope we all instill into our kids. Lately, my faith in humanity has been bruised, but I never waver in the hope that we will all get to a better place one day. I know that humans can be good to one another, and that politics (and insanity in the name of patriotism) aside, we can do better.
On February 17th, National Random Acts of Kindness Day, we are all invited to step up our kindness game and give to others. Just like Valentine’s Day, a day to remind our loved ones how much we care, February 17th is an opportunity to bring a smile to a friend, our neighbor, or a complete stranger.
Here’s a list of 20 acts you can do to brighten up someone’s day.
Nothing says “I care” like buying someone’s meal.
Go ahead and pay for the person behind you in that Starbuck’s line or in a drive-thru. One of my favorite parts about doing this is the surprised look on their face if you stick around to see it. I’ve done this before and others have done it for me, helping to restore my faith in humanity.
Put together some care packages.
This can be something you do with your kids. If there aren’t limitations on items you can buy in your neighborhood, go and spend $40 or $50 and put together small packages of hand sanitizer, chapstick, masks, warm gloves or socks, and a nice note and take it to a domestic violence shelter for men or women.
Create notes of hope.
In a jar or a small little baggy or even a decorated paper bag, write words of hope and inspiration, and drop it off at the pediatric unit of your local hospital for nurses or for pediatric patients.
Let it snow.
If it happens to snow on February 17th (or any other day, for that matter), shovel the sidewalk in your neighborhood with your kids helping out too. If you don’t have sidewalks in your neighborhood, take your kids out and go to a neighborhood and shovel the sidewalk of a neighborhood that is not your own.
Treat the pets.
Make dog treats (another fun activity to do with your kids) and drop them off to your local animal shelter.
Leave a note on someone’s windshield.
I love sticky notes and this is a great way to use them. Leave an encouraging word on someone’s windshield like “You’re doing a great job,” “You’re not alone,” or “You are loved” — words matter, so make them count.
Pay for someone’s parking meter.
It stinks looking for quarters to feed the meter, but if you prepare in advance of Wednesday, February 17th — you can make someone’s day for just 50 cents.
Write a letter.
Pick a nursing home in your area and prepare letters addressed to residents at the home. The letters can be short but inspire them to not lose hope, especially right now.
Fill ‘em up.
Restock your local little free pantry box in your neighborhood or the neighborhood next door to help families in need. If you don’t have one, make one — or just donate to a food pantry in your area!
Donate a few books to your local library (or your local little free library)! Reading can help any and everyone, and we could all use a little escape right now.
Leave A Little Sweetness.
Drop off cookie making essentials to a family in your neighborhood with a note — or just bake the cookies yourself.
Support social justice.
Buy the book “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents” by Isabel Wilkerson or any other book (check out the New York Times best seller list for some great ideas) and give it away. Donate it to the executive director of an organization which serves people of color or your local community center.
Do something “just because.”
Have a meal ordered for a neighbor and delivered to their home with a note from you!
Send a special note to your local library.
Our librarians and support staff are working tirelessly to provide programs for kids and support services, all while keeping us safe by cleaning all of the materials we borrow from the library. So spend some time and write them a thank you note.
Give out sweet treats to essential workers.
Anyone likes a nice treat every now and again, say thank you to you essential workers (garbage men/women, UPS drivers, grocery store clerks, and so many others).
Be kind to yourself, too.
Spend some time giving to yourself. Sit for five minutes or so and write down positive words that describe who you are. Self reflection never goes out of style.
Organize a kindness squad.
Get together a group of folks (this can be done virtually too) and get together to talk about what kindness activities you will bring to your neighborhood on a weekly basis — doing good is contagious.
Get a few balloons at the dollar store and write five questions on them, and then deliver balloons to families in your neighborhood. This activity will help families bond while home together! Questions can be conversation starters for families during dinner or a Friday night game of fun for all. You can leave a note and directions for families on how to play (hint: one family member will toss the balloon to another and wherever their right thumb lands is the question they will need to answer).
Create a handy resource guide for others.
COVID-19 has thrown us for a loop. Create a pocket guide for people whom you can randomly give out the resource guide to. You can include information on local food banks, organizations helping during this time, and any other helpful information you think people need to know. Get creative, make it colorful, legible and easily accessible.
Often a simple check-in with our friends and family can go a long way. When is the last time you asked someone how they were really doing – and then fully listened to their answer? Checking in makes people feel loved, and lets them know they’re on your mind.
When we think we have nothing else to give anyone, and we take a step back from our own day-to-day to do a little self-inventory, we will find that we have more to give. You don’t need to wait until February 17th to do something kind just because. You can be the reason someone has a better day — which will make yours better in the process.
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