Sunday, February 10, 2013

Celebrating Random Acts of Kindness Week with Kids

This year our women's group at church has been encouraging us to plan for and celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Week.  I love Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) because it helps me remember to be better. I'd love to say that I naturally think of others all the time but honestly I let life get in the way too much.  I've found that planning to do Random Acts of Kindness, especially around holidays, is a great way to help not only myself, but also my kids focus on being better.  Even the best of us can be kinder, more caring and considerate in our daily lives. The best part about kindness, it's contagious!  As we are kind to others it helps others pass that along in their lives.

Random Acts of Kindness Weeks is celebrated the week Valentine's Day. In 2013 that means it starts tomorrow, February 11th.  Today at church we were given cute little cards and heart stickers to track doing a RAK each day this week.

In the past we have incorporated RAK activities into our Christmas Activity Advent.  This past Christmas, we put on our best elf garb and put candy canes on people's cars and taped microwave popcorn to the redbox machines.  It was my teenage stepdaughter's idea to dress up and the little kid had so much fun with it (or course the photo below at the redbox my son doesn't look so happy!).

There are so many great ideas about how to do RAK activities out there.  A quick search on pinterest led to tons of great ideas.  The official website also has great ideas and even printables.  If you are an educator they have school based ideas you can implement.  I know my boys elementary school participates in the Be Kind program.

A few of the things we will be doing to celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Week -

Makes cards & a treat for the kids teachers - We are going to include the "specials" teachers like the Art, Music & PE teachers & aides in addition to the classroom teachers.  My sister is a Elementary Art Teacher so I try to remember to thank the specials teachers.  I know my kids love these other classes and the efforts of those teachers make a difference for my kids.  In addition to a card from the kids, I will also write a note.  Teachers often say that their favorite gifts are handwritten thank you notes.

Individual Kindness - I will be working with each of the kids to pick something they can do for another member of the family.  It will be their choice so I will have to report back on what they choose!

Microwave Popcorn on redbox - This is a repeat from Christmas but it is fast, easy and we are a redbox loving family so my kids think this is extra fun.

Trash Clean Up - Unfortunately we live in a neighborhood with lots of trash around.  We are going to go out and pick up trash and help make our neighborhood a little cleaner.

Bubbles on the Playground - A great pinterest find, we will be buying some bubbles at the dollar store, attaching a quick tag and leaving at the playground for kids to enjoy. Don't all kids love bubbles? Plus it's easy to do while also spending some time at the park.

Bring flowers to a friend - Surprise a friend or two with flowers.

Recognize Good Work - One other idea I love, although not necessarily child related, is to find a way to recognize people through their employers. This could be your child's teacher, a co-worker or even a favorite employee at the grocery store or gas station. As a former HR Manager, I know how much employees and volunteers love it when they are recognized for their efforts.  My kids school district has a Recognize a Valued Employee Award program and anyone including parents can submit an online recognition for a staff members efforts.  I did this for my son's wonderful preK teachers last year and they were so touched by it. Many companies have ways to submit recognition online, you can also post a compliment on Facebook or twitter.  I know one I am doing this week is submitting a compliment for an amazing manager at Target who helped me one day when my toddler was throwing the mother of all fits in his store.  I've needed to do it for weeks and will be submitting this week!

A few of my favorite ideas I found from other blogs include - 

Make them Wonder has a great free printable and lots creative RAK ideas. I found the bubble idea on pinterest and started exploring her site.  I love how she incorporates Random Acts of Kindness year round with her kids!

The Good Long Road shared ten ideas that are both free and kids friendly!

Loved this idea to make homemade coloring books and leave with crayons in hospital waiting rooms.

Toddler Approved's 100 Acts of Kindness series is a great resources with dozens of participating blogs that can help inspire you with ideas.  I wish I had discovered this earlier to participate for the whole four week project.  I hope to do it next year!

You have to check out the same sites 25 Acts of Kindness as a Mom.  This list is fabulous and I hope to incorporate more of these things daily.

Finally, some tips for celebrating Random Acts of Kindness with kids -

Plan - As someone with ADHD, sometimes planning is my nemesis and it does sound a little odd to plan a Random Act of Kindness but I find with busy family schedules that is the only way it will get done.

Be Flexible - Although planning is important you also have to be flexible. All mom's know there is a last minute appointment, a sick kids, an extra errand that needs to be done that can throw off your day.  When I make schedules of things like this I try to allow myself the ability to easily switch things out if I need to based on how the day is progressing.  I also avoid things that are time sensitive for the reasons I already listed!

Involve the Kids - Depending on the age of your kids you can include them in making cards or crafts, choosing what to do or who to do it for (you would be amazed at the ideas that even my 3 year old has come up with).  Kids will get more out of participating if they are involved in multiple parts of the process. My kids are also more excited about doing giving away something they help create, even if its as simple as helping cut out a printable you found on the internet.

Make it Personal - Although I think its good to include opportunities to RAK strangers for kids, especially small ones, including service to people you know can often make it more meaningful.  You could do a RAK week that was entirely limited to your family!


Do you do RAK activities with your kids?  Have ideas or a post? I would love to hear or see. 

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