59 Random Acts of Kindness for Kids that Spark Real Empathy

Random Acts of Kindness for Kids by Such a Little While

Children can change the world. But how?

Morgan Freeman said it best: “[with] one act of kindness at a time.”

Random acts of kindness for kids provide an opportunity to step into another person’s shoes and consider their needs and emotions. So it is no surprise that encouraging random acts of kindness in children is one of the best ways to teach empathy.

This article will explore the benefits of random acts of kindness for kids. Empower your child to choose from our list of 59 unique ideas (or come up with their own ways!) to make the world a better place, one day at a time.

Random Acts of Kindness for Kids
50+ Random Acts of Kindness to Spark Empathy in Kids!  By Such a Little While
Text overlay image of young child holding up a white paper heart, sky in background.

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What are random acts of kindness for kids?

Random acts of kindness are simple actions that brighten someone’s day or help improve the world around us.

Empowering kids to take on random acts of kindness is an excellent way to teach children empathy. It encourages them to step into someone else’s shoes and consider their needs, wants, and feelings.

The most effective acts of kindness for children should be carried out with no expectation of a reward. By skipping prizes and treats, we can allow kids to experience the natural feel-good emotions that kindness brings, thus encouraging future positive choices.

How do you explain random acts of kindness to children?

The first thing you need to do is help kids understand what it means to be kind.

Random Acts of Kindness for Kids
"We owe it to our kids to step into their shoes and model the skill we wish to instill in them: Empathy."
Graphic and quote by Such a LIttle While

You can show them what kindness looks like by:

  • Modeling kindness as a classroom or family value (particularly in your moments of anger or frustration!)
  • Ask open-ended questions when you observe kindness in your child’s life (e.g., “How did it feel when ______?”)
  • Rather than telling them what to do, ask open-ended questions when you observe opportunities for kindness (e.g., “What are your ideas for how to help ______?”)
  • Read and discuss children’s books about kindness
Random Acts of Kindness for Kids: Free Kindness Coloring Pages by Such a Little While
While you’re here, be sure to snag our FREE kindness coloring pages that kids love!

    Best Kindness Books for Kids

    Reading together is an excellent way to discuss and instill important life lessons. As a former professional school counselor and parent, here are my favorite books for teaching children about kindness:

    What are the benefits of random acts of kindness?

    Research shows that practicing random acts of kindness can:

    • Increase overall happiness
    • Lengthen total lifespan
    • Raise oxytocin levels in the brain, which may lower blood pressure and empower confidence/self-esteem
    • Increase energy levels
    • Induce a calming effect

    Perhaps most importantly for children and adolescents, research shows random acts of kindness can help promote and increase further kind behavior within peer and friendship groups.

    In other words, kindness is contagious!

    What is Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Day/Week?

    The Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Foundation is a small non-profit organization on a mission to “Make kindness the norm.”

    The RAK Foundation provides a wealth of kindness ideas, activities, and lessons. They also oversee a designated Random Acts of Kindness Day and Random Acts of Kindness Week.

    “We are rooted in the belief that all people can connect through kindness and that kindness can be taught.”

    -Random Acts of Kindness Foundation

    Mark your calendars!

    Kids love special occasions and celebrations. The following designated kindness days and week provide opportunities for meaningful conversations about what kindness means to you.

    World Kindness Day

    November 13th, 2022

    Random Acts of Kindness Day

    February 17th, 2023

    Random Acts of Kindness Week

    February 12th-18th, 2023

    How do I get my child to complete random acts of kindness?

    Fortunately, kids have tons of energy. They love to help and feel valued!

    What children don’t love is feeling forced or coerced into doing something.

    Random acts of kindness for kids
[stock photo of mother helping young boy clean up spilled food using a dust pan and broom].

    So how can we empower (not demand!) kids to adopt random acts of kindness into their daily lives?

    As a Certified Positive Discipline Parent Educator, I suggest caregivers and educators:

    • First, model the act of kindness
    • Genuinely ask for your child’s help to complete the task at hand
    • Have your child choose a kindness idea to try from a list of choices
    • Ask what kindness ideas your child can come up with all on their own!

    59 Examples of Random Acts of Kindness for Kids

    What are some random acts of kindness for kids to do?

    Read through our entire list of ideas to help kids choose kindness, or skip ahead to the specific setting or occasion that best applies to you:

    Random Acts of Kindness for Kids at Home

    “Surround your family with love and kindness; there will be happiness.”

    -Debasish Mridha

    Home is where the heart is! Here are our favorite random acts of kindness for kids to complete without needing to leave the house.

    • Give a sibling a compliment
    • Help a parent/guardian clean up without being asked
    • Call or FaceTime a relative you haven’t talked to in awhile
    • Make a family member a surprise breakfast in bed
    • Come up with a special handshake for each member of your family
    • Invite your family to play a board game
    • Write encouraging words on a paper and leave it somewhere for someone to find
    • Design a postcard and mail it to a friend or family member who lives far away
    • Tell a loved one what you admire most about them
    • Read to a younger sibling or pet
    • Tell a family member, “I appreciate you because _______.”

    Random Acts of Kindness for Students

    Completing just one small act of kindness each day can quickly make the school day something kids look forward to! Here are some meaningful ways to spread kindness at school.

    • Thank a teacher
    • Donate unopened/unused lunch items (or ask about starting a food recovery program at your school if you don’t have one!)
    • Offer to help a substitute teacher
    • Give a classmate a high five when they enter the room
    • Sit next to someone who usually eats alone
    • Speak up in support of someone being treated unfairly
    • Ask to play with a classmate you rarely talk to
    • Tutor or read to a younger student
    • Compliment a classmate’s work
    • Show a new student around
    • Listen to a friend’s problem without judgment
    • Tell someone, “You are a good friend because __________.”
    • Let someone go ahead of you in the lunch line
    • Introduce yourself to your bus driver, custodian, or cafeteria worker
    Random Acts of Kindness for Kids
Image of post-it not collage created by elementary school students.  The prominently featured note reads "be kind to others."
    A kindness Post-It Note collage made by my sweet students a few years ago!

    Random Acts of Kindness for Children in Their Neighborhood/Community

    It’s so important for children to feel valuable in a larger community. A simple act of kindness each day can accomplish just that!

    • Ask your neighbors how they are doing
    • Write a thank you letter to your mail carrier
    • Smile and wave at your waste collectors
    • Pick flowers for an elderly or sick neighbor
    • Pull weeds in your yard
    • Pick up trash at your favorite playground or park
    • Help your parent/guardian wash their car
    • Tell a neighbor what you like about their home
    • Donate an old bike or outdoor toys that you no longer use
    • Offer to water a neighbor’s plants when they go out of town
    • Volunteer at a local animal shelter or food pantry

    Super Easy Random Acts of Kindness (That Even a 3-Year-Old Can Do!)

    Random acts of kindness, no matter how small, can make a world of difference in the lives of those around you.

    There are so many simple ways to be kind that even a 3-year-old can do them.

    • Smile at the next person you see
    • Pick up your toys before leaving a room
    • Invite a friend to take a turn with a toy when you are finished with it
    • Draw a picture for someone you love
    • Give a hug to a family member
    • Give a high five to a friend
    • Tell your parent/guardian why you love them
    • Let a sibling go first

    Self-Kindness Ideas for Kids

    Kindness is often thought of as selfless acts.

    However, when we take the time to practice self-love, we are more likely to make positive choices toward others.

    • Look in the mirror and say 3 things you like about yourself out loud
    • Forgive yourself when you make a mistake
    • Take a long bubble bath
    • Re-read your favorite book
    • Make yourself a healthy snack you enjoy
    • Go for a walk or bike ride
    • Go to bed 15 minutes earlier than you usually do
    • Pack your lunch, and backpack, and lay out your clothes the evening before school
    • Clean your room

    Random Acts of Kindness for Kids at Christmas

    The holidays are a season of giving and Christmas is the perfect time to spread some kindness.

    There are many ways to help kids make the holidays a time for giving.

    • Visit a local nursing home
    • Bake cookies for your neighbors
    • Make and send a card to someone who might be sick or lonely
    • Be someone’s “secret Santa”
    • Ask a grandparent to tell you about their favorite holiday memory
    • Create a new holiday tradition that brings your family together
    • Donate a toy to a child who might not receive any other gifts

    Printable Christmas Kindness Activities!

    The last thing you need to know about teaching random acts of kindness

    The bottom line: Instilling kindness in children begins with us as caregivers.

    There is a common misconception that kind parents are permissive parents. On the contrary, kindness and empathy are the cornerstones of effective positive, authoritative parenting.

    Random Acts of Kindness for Kids  [Venn Diagram Graphic]
Permissive parenting is kind.
Authoritarian parenting is firm.
Authoritative parenting is BOTH kind and firm.
Graphic by Such a Little While

    How will a child adopt empathy if they have not first experienced it for themselves?

    To build a foundation in a positive approach to discipline, I invite you to join me in Such a Little While’s free 30-day positive parenting challenge. Just one small step each day, straight to your inbox!

    Managing Routines & Transitions in Early Childhood: Positive Parenting Challenge PDF Workbook by Such a Little While
Graphic of free PDF workbook.  Text Reads "Positive Parenting Challenge 3.0, must-know positive discipline do's & dont's, 30 powerful, easy-to-follow tips & tools, unlock 10 key features of positive parenting, customizable parenting solutions, master the art of effective consequences).

      You’ve got this!

      My toddler refuses to brush their teeth blot post, written by Tana from Such a Little While
      Hi, I’m Tana! I’m a mom, certified positive parent educator, and former school counselor. It’s my mission to help you foster social/emotional wellness through positive parenting.

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