Start your day right and practice random acts of kindness to brighten anyone’s mood. Here are 35 unique ideas to make family, friends and strangers happy.
It’s the little things that count, including showing kindness and making others feel better. The door held open, the extra tip for the waiter, or the unexpected flowers for your loved ones. These are little things we can do to brighten the mood—others’ as well as our own. Below are several ideas to spread good cheer among friends, family and community.
Random acts of kindness to brighten anyone’s mood
For your partner
- Buy flowers on the way home from work, or place some in a vase for a warm welcome. Nothing makes me smile more than seeing my husband come home with a bouquet of flowers—just because.
- Offer a 15-minute massage. Or a gift certificate to a spa.
- Fill up his car so he has a full tank of gas come Monday morning. Starting the week off with a near-empty tank of gas can kill any Monday morning.
- Leave snacks in his car if he’s expecting a long day. My husband was so touched to see fruits and trail mix sitting in the car for what was going to be a long day at work.
- Leave a sticky note with a loving message on the bathroom mirror. Or by the coffee maker.
- Send a mid-day, “I love you” text. Always makes me smile.
- Prepare a special breakfast. One morning I made his toast look like a bear!
- Buy or borrow a favorite children’s book. We normally read my son four books, and when he saw we only had three in hand, he asked about the fourth one. “Oh, let me go get it,” I said, before returning with a brand new favorite book he loved from the library. Pure joy in his eyes!
- Announce an unexpected trip to the park/beach/playground. Pick your child up from school and ditch your usual day by going to his favorite park (or a new one).
- Play a game without any distractions. Forget the phone, the chores or anything else that keeps you from being 100% focused on your kids.
- Dance. “Hokey Pokey,” “Wheels on the Bus,” “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes,” “If You’re Happy and You Know It,”—it’s like children’s aerobics!
For your child’s teacher or caregiver
- Offer your nanny a paid day off on her birthday. I’m one of those people who refuses to work on her birthday, and I’d love for my nanny to enjoy hers, fully paid.
- Give a coffee card. Here’s a Valentine’s Day version I made for my son’s teachers last year.
- Write a thank-you note for her hard work or for a time when she went above and beyond.
- Surprise your nanny with her favorite sweet treats.
- Come home early so your nanny can go home early.
- Give your nanny money so she can enjoy a lunch out during the day.
- Furnish your child’s teacher with school supplies or unique teacher gifts.
- Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week and Nanny Appreciation Week. I’ve given $10 Body Works soap sets, and we baked oatmeal cookies for all the teachers and staff at his school.
For your friends
- Give new parents baby and children’s clothes your kids have grown out of. I was glad to have given away bagfuls of baby clothes to friends and even acquaintances.
- Bake a cake and invite friends and neighbors over to help finish it. A great way to get a play date going is to invite friends with kids over.
- Send a Kiva card. I’m a fan of micro-lending to help others. Giving your own friends the opportunity to give is all the more wonderful.
- Treat friends to lunch or dinner. Then catch up with everything’s that new. One of my favorite ways to spend my time.
- Send a friend a text saying, “Just thinking of you!” I’m blessed with amazing friends who send me texts like this. Reading their messages truly makes me smile.
For your coworkers
- Buy a dozen donuts for everyone. A co-worker recently walked around with a box of donut holes in hand. What a great start to a work day!
- Treat a coworker to a mid-day coffee run.
- Leave a chocolate bar on a coworker’s desk if she’s going through difficult times. A co-worker of mine appreciated this simple gesture after she confided some challenges with her kids (don’t we all have those!).
- Get everyone together and surprise a coworker with cake for her birthday. The ol’ birthday cake at work move.
- Fill your coworker’s cubicle with several balloons on his birthday. Then send an email to everyone to get a free balloon (and wish the celebrant a happy birthday). A co-worker did this for his colleague, and I loved the idea! His cubicle looked amazing with all the balloons. The balloons also drew to his area and showered him with plenty of birthday greetings.
For your community
- Leave a 100% tip to a well-deserving waiter or barista. If someone goes out of your way, or is your regular server, brighten their day with an amazing tip.
- Donate books in good condition to the library. Or to friends and family. I’m grateful to my family who have kindly given me their old children’s books, and I do the same with my own.
- Leave or give unused coupons at the grocery or store. I’ve found coupons left on shelves. I’ve also passed along free movie popcorn coupons to the couple behind us in line.
- Leave a bag of treats for your mail carrier. Thank them for their services or wishing them a happy holiday. I still love the look on our mailman’s face when my then two-year-old handed him a bag of treats for the holidays.
- Knock on neighbors doors to hand out holiday treat bags. We went door-to-door, knocking on neighbors doors when we had handed out treats. We even met new neighbors and began a new tradition.
- Hold the door open for someone—with a smile. Such a simple act, but a sign of the kindness that warms our hearts.
Get more tips on how to incorporate kindness into your child’s life:
- 10 Children’s Books about Being Kind
- 5 Easy Tips for Kids to Learn Empathy
- Help Your Child WANT to Behave
- How to Raise a Kind Child
- 9 Warning Signs You’re Raising a Spoiled Child
What small acts of kindness will you try? What random acts of kindness can you add to the list?
Get time management strategies, FREE!
Do you feel overwhelmed balancing the needs of your family and your role as a mom? Struggling to find the time to get everything done? Get organized with a FREE copy of my ebook, Time Management Strategies for the Overwhelmed Mom!