Extend Valentine’s Day with Random Acts of Kindness

Today is, of course, Valentine’s Day.  The day of Cupid, and roses, and hearts, and chocolate candies. There’s alot of hype and pressure for the single day.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we could extend the affection expressed on Valentine’s Day throughout the year?

But then this morning, I read this post over on Lit Linx’s blog about Random Act of Kindness Week.  What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day then to kick off a week celebrating kindness, even to those we don’t know!

Almost a year ago, I was getting ready to drive back to Virginia from a visit with the grandparents 2 hours away.  I was by myself, with my year-old daughter in the back seat and before we got even two miles from our departure point, she started to get squirmy.  I pulled into the Starbucks drive-thru to pick up some liquid encouragement for the trip home.  After ordering, I proceeded to the window, where I was informed the lady in front of me had already paid for my drink, with wishes for a wonderful day.  By the time I had my drink, she was gone, but the warm and fuzzy feeling stayed with me all day.

That example was an example of an adult extending kindness to another adult, but children can participate, too.  While they are likely not going to pay for someone else’s drink at Starbucks, consider these ways to involve your kids in random acts of kindness this week (and of course, I’m adding a literacy twist):

  • Write a thank you note.  It doesn’t have to be for a gift.  Consider having your child write a hand-written thank you to the mom who hosted last weekend’s sleepover, or the librarian who helped him/her find the perfect book, or the teacher who did an extra-cool science experiment.  Letter-writing is a dying art, I guarantee the note will be received with appreciation.
  • Have your child select several recent photos to send to the grandparents.  On the back, have the child write (or dictate) the who, what, when, where, and whys of the photo.  A great way to include grandparents in your child’s activities and encourage communication.
  • Has your child outgrown or lost interest in several books on the bookshelf? Have your child box up the books he/she is no longer interested in, and then include your child in donating the books to a local library, or a charity who provide books to under-privileged youth.  Another option is to freecycle the books, where they are often picked up by those wishing to grow their home library or build school/classroom libraries.
  • Send a cheerful, anonymous card to someone in the neighborhood, church, or school who is going through a difficult time.  The card can be handmade or store-bought, but have your child choose the recipient and include a short personal message.  Getting “real” mail is a sure-fire way to brighten someone’s day–and the “awwww” factor that comes with a child’s own thoughts is an added bonus.

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends.  Let’s continue to spread kindness this week and throughout the year.

P.S- If you missed them, I did talk about Valentine’s day book selections last week.  You can find them here and here.

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