Kindness. It’s something we value as a society but sometimes find ourselves struggling to engage in and initiate, but is actually quite important for children’s physical and mental health, as well as their emotional awareness. According to the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, there are scientifically proven reasons why you and your children should be engaging in random acts of kindness, as seen in their video! Based on numerous studies, the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation explains that the benefits of performing random acts of kindness include:
Oxytocin production – Otherwise known as the “love hormone”, performing random acts of kindness increases oxytocin production, resulting in lower blood pressure, increased heart health, and boosted self-esteem and confidence.
Energy – According to the book Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents written by Christine Carter, Ph.D., About half of participants in one study reported that they feel stronger and more energetic after helping others; many also reported feeling calmer and less depressed, with increased feelings of self-worth.
Happiness – In 2010, Harvard Business School surveyed people in 136 countries and found that those who were more financially generous and made charitable donations, were the happiest.
Lifespan – According to Dr. Carter, Giving help to others protects overall health twice as much as aspirin protects against heart disease. People 55 and older who volunteer for two or more organizations have an impressive 44% lower likelihood of dying early, and that’s after sifting out every other contributing factor, including physical health, exercise, gender, habits like smoking, marital status, and many more. This is a stronger effect than exercising four times a week or going to church.
Pleasure – In a phenomenon coined “the helper’s high“, when a person is nice or does something kind for another person, both persons pleasure and rewards center in the brain is engaged.
Serotonin – According to hormone.org, serotonin is the key hormone that stabilizes our mood, feelings of well-being, and happiness as well as assisting with sleeping, eating, and digestion. Performing acts of kindness stimulates the production of serotonin.
100 Acts of Kindness
Everyone wants to be nice and do kind things, but every once in a while we need some ideas to get us going. Luckily, we’ve come up with some random acts of kindness to try out with your kids!? If you need some more ideas, check out the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation ideas page, or check out Pinterest. Remember to take into consideration your child’s age, maturity level, and to take safety precautions for the health of you and your family before engaging in an activity.
- Leave money on the vending machine or in a parking meter for the next person
- Bake cookies for the local nursing home
- Volunteer at a homeless shelter
- Sign up for a 5k for a good cause
- Pick up litter in your neighborhood
- Let someone go in front of you inline
- Give a compliment to a stranger
- Make dinner for a neighbor or family friend
- Buy flowers and hand them out on the street
- Leave positive, inspiring notes on cars
- Pay for the person behind you in the drive-thru
- Write letters to soldiers?
- Gather old clothes and toys to donate
- Donate time or money (or both!) to a fundraiser?
- Hold the door open for someone
- Help someone carry their groceries to their car or their home
- Volunteer to walk your neighbor’s dogs
- Send a teacher a gift
- Plant a tree or start a garden with your neighborhood
- Help your grandparents water their garden or mow their lawn
- Pay for a strangers library fees
- Send a happy picture to a friend or family member
- Bring a special treat into school for the whole class
- Have a free car wash for the neighborhood
- Sing or dance for the local nursing home
- Save soda tabs, bottle caps, or BoxTops for a charity or cause
- Host a bake sale for a foundation or charity
- Hand out water bottles on a hot day
- Leave your server a nice note with your tip
- Make someone breakfast in bed
- Help out with chores (without being asked)?
- Offer to put someone’s cart back at the grocery store
- Let someone else pick the movie or TV show to watch
- Write a list of everything you love about a friend or family member and then give it to them
- Give up your seat on the bus for someone else
- Lend someone a toy, book, or movie
- Offer someone a pen
- Feed the birds or ducks at the park
- Donate your hair after a haircut
- Make someone a card
- Write a happy comment on someone’s post online
- Make bookmarks and give them to friends or family
- Volunteer at an animal shelter
- Help a friend or classmate with a subject they need help with
- Gather old blankets to donate
- Paint or draw something for a friend or family member
- Give someone a random high-five
- Eat at a local restaurant
- Make hot chocolate for the family on a cold day
- Send coloring books and crayons to kids in need
- Ask your grandparents or an elderly person to share a story?
- Pack a lunch for someone in your family
- Draw a smiley face next to your name
- Make a lemonade stand for a good cause
- Ride your bike or walk to a friends house instead of driving
- Wheel out or take back your neighbor’s trash bins
- Help someone with their homework
- Make a birdhouse and fill it with seeds for the outside critters
- Foster an animal?
- Host a teddy bear drive for kids in need
- Donate old books to a library
- Pay for someone else’s lunch
- Gather supplies for and send out a care package to a loved one
- Make a fleece blanket for someone
- Bring reusable bags to the grocery store
- Take a walk with your family and say hello to everyone you pass
- Donate old towels to an animal shelter
- Leave a present or thank you note in the mailbox for your mail carrier
- Leave a nice thought for someone on a sticky note in a library book
- Share something without being asked
- Bake someone a cake…just because
- Make a scrapbook for a loved ones
- Help someone up when they fall down
- Say “thank you” to frontline and essential workers
- Tape a video message to send to someone you haven’t seen in a while
- Bury treasure at the playground
- Read a book to someone
- Make kindness stones and leave them in random places
- Help someone make dinner
- Give the custodian and/or lunch lady at school a treat
- Smile and wave at someone new
- Leave a happy message in chalk on the sidewalk or driveway
- Pick flowers for someone
- Shovel your neighbor’s sidewalk or driveway
- Give someone that needs it a hug?
- Go one whole day without complaining
- Offer someone a snack
- Decorate tissue boxes and hand sanitizers to give to healthcare workers
- Give the bus driver a candy bar
- Give someone a stick of gum
- Write thank-you notes to police officers
- Collect toiletries for those in need
- Weed your neighbors garden
- Send a postcard
- Buy a souvenir for a friend when you go on a trip
- Dry the slides at the park with a towel after it rains
- Adopt an animal online
- Tell someone how special they are to you
- Hand out stickers
- Make someone else’s bed
Mission I’m Possible
At HAPPÉ Life, we strive to help children and their families build relationships, develop emotional awareness, and work on social and mental health skills through performing acts of kindness with our fun, free, online program Mission I’m Possible! Every week, HAPPÉ sends parents or caretakers “top secret missions” in the form of 1-2 minute videos to their email that are designed to encourage kids to train their brains and interact with others. The missions might be something like saying thank you to 3 people who sometimes go unnoticed, like a new kid in school, a neighbor, or a parent. These challenges dare kids to try out new experiences, reflect on and manage hard to express emotions and make sure they are equipped with the skills to shape relationships in a positive and healthy way.
If you have any questions, contact HAPPÉ here. Share your random acts of kindness on HAPPÉs Facebook and Instagram for a chance to be featured!