Genuine kindness and empathy for others are important virtues to instill within your teen as they navigate the world, and learn about who they want to be as they grow toward adulthood. However, the adolescent years can be tumultuous for many teenagers and their families due to all the negativity, unkindness, and emotional challenges teens face today. The great news is that, in an effort to combat bullying, and support inclusion and kindness, there is a week devoted solely to promoting random acts of kindness- National Random Acts of Kindness Week.
History of Random Acts of Kindness Week
National Random Acts of Kindness Day actually originated in New Zealand, where they celebrate this day of doing kind things for others on September 1st each year. This movement has been gaining popularity each year, and encouraged the formation of the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. This foundation advocates for a world filled with kindness toward all, paying it forward, and using selfless acts as a measure of personal success. They endeavor to support kindness, inclusion, and happiness in a world that can be far too dark and negative for teens and adults alike.
10 Ideas for Encouraging Your Teen to Practice Random Acts of Kindness
1. Treat your teen to lunch from a drive-thru restaurant, and pay for the person behind you as well.
2. Spend some time with your teen, and help them make a list of 5 people they are thankful for, and then have your teen send them each a hand-written thank you card letting them know how much they care about them and treasure them. Make your own list, and do the same.
3. Clean out your closets, and donate unneeded clothes to charity.
4. Ask your teen to think about some people at school who seem lonely, and encourage them to show those teen kindness with a genuine compliment and a smile.
5. Put together a care package for someone on a mission or in the military. Have your teen help think of items, pack the box, and mail it with you.
6. Have your teen pick a day this week, where they commit to only speaking kindly to everyone they see throughout the day. Then have them explain how they felt after spending a single day being consciously kind.
7. Pick an evening, and take your teen to a popular playground with a jar of coins and some tape. Tape the coins in random places around the playground, so children can gleefully discover them.
8. Give your teen a pad of Post-It notes, and have them write down random compliments on at least ten notes. Then have them stick the Post-Its in random places throughout their day, such as the bathroom mirror, on a random desk at school, etc. so that people find them and smile.
9. Bake some goodies with your teen, and deliver them together to someone who you know is struggling in some aspect of their life.
10. Celebrate and compliment your teen whenever they are kind, giving, or compassionate.