By Rachel Hoeing

Happy Valentine’s Day to all! This is also the week for Random Acts of Kindness Day. What a better way to spread the love than to perform random acts of kindness for those you love and know well, but also for those you love but have never met!

Whatever you choose to do, be sure to involve your children. My mom always set an example of thoughtfulness and love for my sister and I when she wrote thank you notes, took meals to friends who were sick, took special gifts to our teachers, brought food for the lifeguards at our pool, and called her family to check in on them. She would involve us in these simple acts of kindness so that we could see the positive effect these actions had on others.

As I browsed through the Random Acts of Kindness website, other kindness blogs, and Pinterest, I found so many ideas that were amazing. I have listed below 10 of my favorites that may give you some ideas and a jump start on spreading Random Acts of Kindness all through the year.

1. Keep a Kindness Journal
Watch what goes on around you, in the workplace, at school, in your neighborhood. Keep track of the kindness you see by writing about the ways you have been kind to other people, how you see strangers being kind to each other, and about how others have been kind to you. You’ll be surprised how much optimism this will bring into your life!

2. Donate Money or Time to a Local Charity
We have so many non-profits right here in the Triad who can use your help. Use our Volunteering & Giving Directory to get ideas and lend a helping hand.

3. Smile at 10 Strangers
At the check out line, walking along the street, or person behind a customer service desk. Make their day with a simple smile! You never know who may need it at that very moment.

4. Give Away Items You Don’t Use
Drop them off at a homeless shelter, Catholic Charities, Goodwill, Greensboro Urban Ministry, Open Door Ministry, Salvation Army, Samaritan Ministries, or West End Ministries. This is an easy task for your children to help with, too! It will make them appreciate what they have, but also consider others who may not have access to simple things like warm clothing.

5. Give Out Free Cookies
Organize your own flash mob but instead of dancing or singing, give out cookies to passers-by for no reason at all!

6. Make Kindness Bookmarks
Pass them out to friends or strangers to make them smile! Your little artists will love making these and will love it even more when they hand them out.

7. Leave An Extra Tip
Save up your change, exchange it for dollar bills, and the next time you dine out, leave your waiter a tip much larger than you usually would. Leave a note telling them that they made your day and you hope this extra money will make their day as well.

8.  Write A Letter
This blog may help give you a few ideas. Pick someone who has made a difference in your life and let them know it!

9. Eat Lunch With Someone New
I think this is a fabulous idea for all members of your family! Encourage your children to sit next to a new friend at school. You can also extend an invitation to an acquaintance or new friend for lunch at your home or a new restaurant you have been wanting to check out!

10. Let Someone Go In Front of You
The next time you are in a line … whether it be by car or on foot … let someone go in front of you. An extra minute of your day can make someone’s day.

If you have other ideas, be sure to share them in the comment section below. Happy Valentine’s Day to all! Spread the love!