If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.
Emily Dickinson, “If I Can Stop One Heart From Breaking”
In The Book of Virtues, William Bennett writes, “The seeds of compassion are sown in our very nature as human beings.” He further describes compassion as standing “with others in their distress” and taking “seriously the reality of other persons.” However, as pointed out by PsychologyToday, the “selfishness, narcissism, and indifference that popular culture communicates” to children makes it more important than ever to nurture those seeds of goodness before they wither away.
Encouraging your child to serve others through random acts of kindness can water their seeds of compassion and encourage them to grow.
We’ve created a list of 36 Random Acts of Kindness to Do With Your Kids to help you get started.
- Put change in a vending machine. (CoffeeCupsandCrayons)
- Do Christmas (or Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc.) in July for a neighbor by singing Christmas carols and dropping off Christmas cookies.
- Read to an elderly person.
- Donate new or gently used coats to One Warm Coat, which gives coats to those in need. (FamilyEducation)
- Give a candy bar to your bus driver or crossing guard.
- Help an elderly or handicapped person carry groceries to the car.
- Donate a birthday box to a local food shelter. Include items such as: cake mix, canned frosting, birthday candles, a banner, and party hats. (RedTricycle)
- Read to a younger sibling.
- Bake cookies and deliver them to the local fire station.
- In the winter, stuff warm gloves and socks with snacks to give to homeless people. (KidWorldCitizen)
- In the summer, stuff baseball caps with sunglasses and a reusable water bottle to give to the homeless.
- Bring a box of donuts or cupcakes to the local police station.
- Make a lemonade stand and donate the proceeds to your child’s favorite charity.
- Leave a note in a library book. (Highlights)
- Make your family members’ beds in the morning.
- Clean up litter in your neighbor’s front yards (make sure parents supervise near roads and help the child bring the proper equipment and avoid picking up hazardous materials).
- Bring cookies to your school janitor. (CoffeeCupsandCrayons)
- Weed your parents’ garden or flower beds.
- Eat lunch with someone sitting alone in the school cafeteria.
- Collect toiletries for military service members. (Highlights)
- Donate unwanted toys and clothes to a local GoodWill (even kids can learn how to keep only that which “brings them joy!”)
- Make a holiday card for a soldier. (Holidays for Heroes)
- Give candy to your bank teller. (CoffeeCupsandCrayons)
- Knit, quilt, or crochet a blanket for a local shelter or ProjectLinus.
- Leave a kind note for your sibling to find.
- Pick flowers for your mom.
- Donate gently used stuffed animals for firefighters and police officers to give children during emergencies. (StuffedAnimalsforEmergencies)
- Make Valentines for the elderly.
- Find a cool rock to give your dad.
- Tape change to a parking meter. (CoffeeCupsandCrayons)
- Make treats for your neighbors.
- Draw a picture for someone who’s having a bad day.
- Make bagged lunches for homeless people. (ProverbialHomemaker)
- Donate a copy of your favorite book to Pajama Program.
- Write your parents’ a “Thank You” card.
- Bring gently used board and card games to your local homeless shelter. (KidWorldCitizen)