By TMoM team member Rachel Hoeing

Did you know that Random Acts of Kindness Week kicks off on February 16 this year? It’s the perfect time to be a positive role model for your children. “Random Acts of Kindness” are ways that we can make others feel better, or bring joy into their lives without wanting or accepting any credit. I still remember years ago when Oprah aired a whole segment on acts of kindness. That same year, as I was in line for a fast food drive-thru, I got to the window and discovered that the driver in front of me had paid for my meal! It was such a wonderful gesture! I have done the same thing for others a few times since then, and it honestly made me smile the rest of the day, thinking about how happy it may have made that person. I have listed a few ideas for families below.

I got these ideas from the website Visit it to get even more ideas for kids or communities. I personally think that many of these ideas are made even better when you do them anonymously! Share these ideas with your children and choose a few to do during Random Acts of Kindness Week. Hopefully it will make all of you feel so good that you will continue to do things like this all year through!

*Go to a children’s zoo or a park where feeding animals is allowed. Offer a bag of food to another family to feed the animals.
*Bake cookies together, and take them to a neighbor who needs a lift.
*Pitch in and clean up the yard of a neighbor who is ill, has had surgery recently, or has had a family emergency.
*Walk to a nearby park and pick up trash, then have a picnic there.
*Go to the pool for a swim, and pay the entrance fee for another family.
*Organize a carnival for young children, and invite neighboring families or a group of preschoolers to have fun throwing foam balls, fishing for prizes, and playing games. Be sure everyone gets a prize.
*Bake a treat and take it to a police or firefighter station.
*Arrange to plant flowers or a tree at a school or park on a Saturday morning.
*Have each member of your family choose someone outside the family who has made a positive difference in his or her life. Write short thank-you notes, and mail the letters together.
*Discuss the best things about the area where you live, the best places to shop and have fun, etc. Have someone take notes. Then type up the ideas to give to new neighbors who move in.
*Volunteer with your children to help at a soup kitchen.
*Create a Thanksgiving basket of food for a needy family. Make a card with cheerful artwork drawn by each of your family members. Deliver the basket and card to the family.
*Leave a bouquet of flowers on a neighbor’s front step anonymously.
*Make some small gifts or write kindness wishes and drawings on bright greeting cards. Deliver them in person to residents of a nursing home, children’s home, or senior facility.
*Collect stories from family members about kind acts both given and received, and create a family scrapbook. If you have photos, include them with the stories. As years go by and as your children grow, all of you can review the many ways that kindness has touched your family’s life.
*Choose a family who is facing a meager holiday season, and begin collecting items in September for them. If you buy a package of six socks, put one pair aside for the surprise gifts. When you shop for food, buy a couple extra nonperishable items each time. Be sure that both the parents and the children have at least two gifts each, along with the food. Gift-wrap it all, and choose a time when you know they are home. Leave it on their doorstep, and have one person stay to ring the doorbell and run.
* Roll an elderly neighbor’s garbage cans back up the driveway at the end of trash pick-up day.
*Buy cold drinks for the people next to you at a ball game.
*Create “Kindness – Pass It On” cards for residents to pass from one person to another to accompany kind acts that they do for one another. The card might have a simple graphic with the words: “This act of kindness was performed especially for you. Please offer an act of kindness to someone else, and pass this card on to that person.”

Please share any ideas you have for Random Acts of Kindness below!

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