Posted: Feb 08, 2013 8:00 AM
 
What we love most about Valentine's Day is its focus on friendship and kindness. These "acts" are not only thoughtful and kind, but also simple and relatable. Sit, discuss and plan these together. You're sure to see a lovely side to your school-age kid as you "think kindness" together.

Valentine's Day brings out the good friend in all of us. Use that momentum to make a bucket list of kind things you and your school-age kids can do for others. Carve out the time to make a kindness plan and to execute it. What's special about these ideas is they're meant to be done together, cementing the message that kindness matters to your family. Use this list to get you started, then see where your own ideas take you!

For friends

  • Any day cards — Your school-age kids will love giving friends cards on an any day, one that's not a special occasion, and the receiver is sure to feel loved and appreciated.
  • Surprise flowers — A flower stem left on a friend's doorstep or a sibling's bedside is bound to make someone smile.
  • Sweet nothings — Leave colorful chalk drawings and messages on someone's driveway. What a sweet welcome home!

For adultsmilk and cookies

  • Weather-friendly drinks — A cup of coffee, a mug of hot chocolate or a water bottle are lovely surprises for busy workers. Your mailman, classroom teachers, school crossing guards and custodians are perfect unsuspecting targets!
  • Clean-up time — Do someone's outside chores for them. Whether it's weeding a garden, shoveling a driveway or putting away trash and recycling bins, this one is as helpful as it is kind.
  • Cookies and milk — Homemade cookies brighten everyone's day. Bake up a special treat for a coach, a day care provider or a neighbor just because.

For strangers

  • Spare change — Quarters taped to meters and vending, soda and gumball machines are a fun way to make someone's day.
  • Blessings bags — A bag filled with lunch staples can be given to someone in need. Lovely alternatives are bags filled with toiletries such as soap, toothpaste and deodorant or bags filled with non-perishable snacks such as apple sauce, granola bars and crackers.
  • Flipped treats — Surprise a grocery store cashier, a drive-thru server or a bus driver with a simple treat such as an apple, a lollipop or a snack bag.

One MOre Thought^

Start out by marking the calendar with which days you'll do Acts of Kindness together. Once you're in the habit of doing kindness, impromptu acts such as holding doors for strangers, paying someone else's library fines or leaving a waitress a thank you note will become second nature. Also consider the element of surprise. No one necessarily needs to know what you and your little partner have done, the kindness lesson is just as powerful between the two of you.

More on family activities

Parent-friendly things to do this weekend
The importance of family mealtime
Sibling bonding

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Sherri Kuhn February 12, 2013
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Love, love, LOVE this! Just yesterday a stranger helped my daughter out with some spare change in the grocery store. My favorite thing to do is offer to let people go in front of me in line, if I have enough time. People are shocked (in California) and thankful...it makes me smile.
Kat Biggie February 11, 2013
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It is truly amazing how great it feels to receive a random act of kindness! I have a goal set to do one per month. I know that seems small, but it's amazing how easy it is to get caught up in our lives, and at least this way I know I will do at LEAST one! Speaking of which... I've been meaning to take dinner to the mother of a kid in my son's kindergarten class. Her husband has been deployed for over six months and won't be home til summer. She has a 2, 5, and 7 year old! Need to get on that!!!! Thanks for reminding me!
Ilene Evans February 09, 2013
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I love your ideas - especially the every day cards. A child in my daughter's class made her a card during a difficult day she was having in school and it made all the difference. These are great ways to be a friend. LOVE
Robin Farr February 08, 2013
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This is fabulous! And I love the calendar suggestion - good way to get past the intention to actually doing it.
Carolyn Yalin February 08, 2013
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What nice simple ideas to spread some kindness. Love these.
Angela Amman February 08, 2013
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What a great reminder :)
Greta Funk February 08, 2013
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I love these ideas!
Jennifer Chidester February 08, 2013
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Love this!
Jennifer Williams February 08, 2013
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Oh, I think these ideas are so great. It is so important to teach our kids to be kind people.
Poppy Marler February 08, 2013
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These are great ideas. I'm going to pin this so I'll remember :) (Though I shouldn't have to remember to be kind, should I?) Loved this.
Tonya Wertman February 08, 2013
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So sweet and yet so simple. Thank you, Galit. This was a perfect post.
Alison Lee February 08, 2013
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Such sweet ideas, I love the ones for strangers! Kindness wins, yes?
Jessica Torres February 08, 2013
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Love this idea!
Leigh Ann Torres February 08, 2013
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Such great ideas!