TOAM parent and board member, Andrea, was inspired to create a mission encouraging random acts of kindness among our children after someone was spontaneously kind to her. Sometimes those acts just happen and sometimes we have to plan them out a little bit. Below, you'll find our list of ideas for acting with kindness towards others with children. If you'd like to share your RAOK with us, post a photo or story on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtags #RAOK and #TOAMMKE.
Some thoughts about performing Random Acts of Kindness with your children:
1. They will learn by watching YOU. So make sure you occasionally model the art of being kind to others.
2. Use your family language to explain why this is important to you and for the world.
Creating a habit of senseless, joyful kindness towards the others can be life-changing. Together, we can make it world-changing.
1. Rake leaves or shovel snow for a neighbor
2. Bake treats and give them away to a friend or family member
3. Write a kind note (leave it for someone in their mailbox, on their school desk, in their locker, on the windshield of a car, and for tech-lovers, send a text or email). My kids like to record short videos on my phone to send to family and friends.
4. Give someone a gift card to Starbucks, Colectivo, Stone Creek, or The City Market.
5. Make and leave a "Love Rock" for a stranger to find.
6. Hold the door for someone.
7. Leave a book in a Little Free Library. To find a Little Free Library near you, click here.
8. Recognize an act of kindness performed by someone else. This takes two seconds to do with kids but once you do it, they'll start to "watch" the world in a whole new way.
9. Offer to take a neighbor or family member's dog for a walk.
10. Play with a new student at school.
11. Make a card expressing gratitude for someone who helps you frequently but perhaps you don't know them very well (city waste collectors, mail person, librarian).
12. As a parent, read the oft begged for "one more book" one night.
13. Give stickers or otherwise entertain a child waiting in line behind you. (My daughter has been known to play a mean game of peek-a-boo with a testy tot waiting behind us in the grocery store.)
14. In school, invite someone to sit with you at lunch.
15. Offer to wrap holiday gifts. (If you encourage your child to do this for family members, remember to let them wrap it their way. Love is often shown in imperfect ways, with lots and lots of tape.)
16. Tape a bag of microwave popcorn to a Redbox machine.
17. Write a letter ("draw" a letter) for a long distance friend or family member your family hasn't connected with in a while.
18. Offer to babysit for a mom who needs extra time.
19. The next time you head to the grocery store, ask a neighbor if you can pick anything up for them.
20. Let someone else go first. Or go first when you see someone is nervous!
21. Make care packages to have ready in your car for a homeless person. *When you hand them out, make time to exchange a few kind words.
22. Make a goal to compliment 5 people per day.
23. Fill the meter for another parked car.
24. Pick up litter when you find it
25. Let someone cut you in line at the store.
26. Pay for someone behind you in the drive-thru.
27.Take a treat to a fire or police station.
28. Accept a random act of kindness. We know it feels good to give, let someone else feel good when they offer to help you!
29. Donate children's books to Books for Kids or another Milwaukee organization serving children. Bring a special treat for the secretary or admin who helps you that day.
30. Pay for the family behind you when you go on the Jingle Bus tour.
31. Make bird feeders to hang outside for the winter birds. See this link from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for three bird feeder ideas.
32. Invite someone over to dinner.
33. Hold the elevator!
34. When your family discusses "their day" over dinner, make it a point to share when someone did something nice for you.
35. Make eye contact with the store clerk or cashier when they're helping you.
36. If someone beats you in a competition, congratulate them. Do not pout and do not give an excuse for why you didn't win.
37. Hand someone a tissue if they sneeze.
38. If someone asks you a question in conversation, ask them a question in return. Turn a common greeting like "How are you?" into an actual exchange.
39. Compliment your teacher.
40. Leave a tip or a special treat for the staff who cleans your hotel room.
41. Do a chore for a sibling or parent. Parents, see random act of kindness #28. Even if the chore is done below your standards. Let it be.
42. Smile and say hello to the people you pass on the street.
43. Offer to bring in a stranger's shopping cart as you walk into the store
44. Push a shopping cart back into the store (rather than just to the corral)
45. Cheer on the men and women driving the snow plows from your porch (clap and wave!)
46. Bring treats for the construction workers at the future Northwestern Mutual building in downtown Milwaukee. (Hand them over to the men at the gate.)
47. Show appreciation to your crossing guard!
48. Create a Snowmageddon/Polar Vortex survival kit for your children AND yourself. (When you find craft projects or other little items on sale, pick them up and store them away until that day that will inevitably come this winter when everyone is climbing the walls from being stuck inside. Don't want to spend $$? Hide semi-neglected toys left around the house for your "kit." Bring out your survival kit and surprise everyone with your in-house RAOK. How is this a RAOK for you? Peace and quiet for a guaranteed five minutes.)
49. Clean the snow off your neighbor's car
50. If you see someone drop something, pick it up for them!
See below for photos from our Kindness Campaign kick-off event.