Alongside being Ash Wednesday, February 17th is Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Day in the US. While this might originally be a States-based holiday, it’s a lovely concept that can be embraced worldwide!
And why wait until February? Kindness can be expressed every day!
Practicing acts of kindness yourself can also encourage your children to express kind thoughts and actions.
With limitations on who we can see in person, this year it might feel a little trickier to carry out random acts of kindness. The usual recommendation of smiling at strangers seems in vain when nobody can see under your mask! (There’s only so much we can smile with our eyes without coming across totally manic…)
Similarly, random hugs with co-workers are out of the question. Even baking cookies for a neighbour has become questionable.
But fear not! There are still lots of wonderful COVID-secure things you can do this RAK Day and beyond. And if anything, it’s even more important to share special moments with our support networks and communities.
1. Write a positive email, text, or letter
Whether it’s to a coworker, a friend, or family member, take a couple of minutes to send an uplifting message. It could be a silly joke to make them laugh, a big-up to congratulate them on something they’ve done well, or even just a ‘Hey, I’m thinking of you, hope you’re having a great day.’
With so many digital messaging platforms available, we often forget about snail mail but handwritten letters can make your communication extra special.
Why not get your little one to contribute too — they can draw or mark-make, or older kids can sign their name or write their own letter. It can be exciting for them to get a reply in the post days or weeks later, too!
2. Send a surprise gift or care package
Who doesn’t like a surprise parcel in the post? You don’t have to spend lots of money, either. You could make something and pop it in the mail, or order a thoughtful gift online. The beauty of online shopping is that you can send it straight to your recipient. From fresh flower bouquets to self-care boxes filled with pampering treats, you’re sure to find something to delight your loved one. Besides, it truly is the thought that counts!
You could try searching for local companies to support small businesses, too.
3. Bake your family’s favourite cake
Sometimes, we all need a little treat. And sometimes that treat just has to be in cake form! Grab some ingredients, arm your children with a mixing bowl and spoon, and spend some quality time together rustling up a delicious dessert.
Why not try out some of these tasty cupcake recipes?
4. Give your children extra hugs
Perhaps you’re already an especially affectionate parent, but extra cuddles and snuggles never go amiss! Throughout the day, give your toddler a bear hug, pat on the back, or kiss on the cheek just to remind them how much you love them.
5. Call a friend or family member you haven’t spoken to in a while
It can be easy to get swept up in the chaos of daily life. Even when we know we care deeply for our friends and family, sometimes we forget to express it. Picking up the phone and having a chat with someone we haven’t called in a while can really brighten their day.
If you have older family members (grandparents, great-grandparents, great aunts and uncles, etc.) who live on their own, just a five-minute chat can make a difference and help them feel less isolated.
Maybe your children can have a chat with them too?
6. Let someone know you’re here to listen
We all face struggles and difficult times. And many people don’t always express that outwardly. If someone you know is having a hard time, a quick message to say you’re here if they need you can express your solidarity. Whether or not they take you up on the offer, just knowing there’s a kind and willing ear can help others feel seen and acknowledged.
7. Donate to your local food bank
Most supermarkets have food bank collection points. If you’re able to, next time you do your big shop, pick up an extra item or two to help somebody in need. It can be a nice idea to let your children choose what goes in. (Just make sure it’s non-perishable and well within date).
8. Let someone go in front of you in a queue
Being a parent means we’re always busy! There’s always something to do next and somewhere to be. But next time you’re in a queue at the shops, bank, or post office, take a step back and let someone else go first. As humans, we sometimes forget that other people have just as much as we do, and they may really appreciate the gesture.
9. Compliment a stranger
Last week, I was picking up a prescription from the pharmacy. The lady behind the counter complimented my name, and that small comment had me beaming all day!
A desire to be seen and feel heard is such a big part of the human condition and it really warmed my heart that a complete stranger had noticed me and said something nice.
Words are powerful and, when we use them wisely, a small phrase can have a big positive impact.
Sometimes we feel self-conscious about giving compliments. We wonder how the other person will take them and if we’re overstepping the mark. But next time you see something you like, just say!
10. Leave a favourable review
When things don’t go so well — our phone broke, the waiter forgot our side salad, the entry price to the museum was too high — we tend to feel motivated to voice our dissatisfaction. But when things do go well, we often overlook things like reviews.
So when you receive service you like, let the company know! From the restaurant that made the absolute tastiest pizza to the brilliant educational game you downloaded to keep your toddler occupied, leave a review on Tripadvisor, or the App Store. Share your delight on social media and let your friends and family know that they might benefit too.
Positive feedback can make a real difference to small, independent businesses in particular — trust us, we know!
11. Do something special for yourself
Carrying out random acts of kindness to others is fantastic, but remember that you deserve loving actions too! Self-care is just as important as caring for your friends, family, and loved ones.
Whether it’s treating yourself to a cake or takeaway, having some quiet time to read your book, or drawing a relaxing bubble bath, take some time to do something you want — just for you
12. Share your little one’s latest escapades on your MySunshine timeline
Children bring joy and laughter to us every day. When your little one does something funny or reaches a new milestone, why not share that joy with your friends and family?
You can get started on your timeline by hopping over to the MySunshine website. From there, you can download the app, invite your loved ones to your timeline and bring a little ray of sunshine to their days.
Acts of kindness are for life, not just for RAK Day!
Bring more love and goodwill into your life each and every day by carrying out random acts of kindness. It’s similar to gratitude practice — the more you do it, the easier it becomes. You’ll notice that, despite the big scary things we can’t control, the world can be a brighter, happier place.