Family Life


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10 Creative Ways to Show Kindness As a Family

The calendar is now full of random celebration days—you probably see them crop up on social media. Some of them are funny, some are silly, some are meaningful and some incite a call to action. Global Kindness Day, celebrated on November 13, falls into the latter category, and we love that it puts a spotlight on being generous and thoughtful. So with that in mind, we’ve rounded up 10 ways you can show kindness with the whole family — on Global Kindness Day and any day — setting an example for impressionable little ones and hopefully teaching the next generation the value and impact of a kind word or gesture.

  1. Leave messages of kindness in the community.

Collect a handful of large rocks—one or two per person—and brainstorm a list of kind wishes and thoughts. Using oil-based or acrylic paint, paint each rock with a hopeful message. Once all of the rocks are completely dry, drive around down and place them in areas for people to see when they walk by. Worried the paint will rub off? Spray with outdoor shellac to seal the messages in.

  1. Shop with intent.

Lots of companies use some of their proceeds to support charitable organizations around the world. Do some research to find a product or two that would help to fund a cause you believe in, and add those items to your cart in your grocery shop. (We love that Mrs. Meyer’s Compassion Flower hand soap is working with Little Green Thumbs to provide gardening kits to classrooms across the country, for example!) You can also buy from local shops and boutiques to support the businesses in your community.

  1. Help a neighbour.

Depending on the time of year, think about yardwork. As the snow threatens to fly (or has already shown up in certain parts of the country!), as weeds begin to sprout or leaves fall, surprise a neighbour and rake their leaves, shovel their walk, tend to some gardening, or ask them if there’s anything you can do to help them get ready for winter or spring. 

  1. Do a porch drop.

The pandemic taught us that people love care packages. Make a batch of cookies or cupcakes and drop them at a friend’s door, to tell them you’re thinking of them. Just be sure they’re home first!

  1. Pay for the person behind you in the drive-thru line.

If you’ve ever had the experience of pulling up to the drive-thru window only to hear that the person ahead of you paid for your coffee or food, you know how warm and fuzzy it feels. Plus, when you do it, it usually inspires the person behind you to pay for the person behind them, starting a domino effect of kindness. (Your kids will love this one—they’ll excitedly watch behind as you drive away to gauge the reaction of the person you’ve treated to their caffeine fix.)

  1. A smile goes a long way.

Set out on a grocery shop, a market trip or even a trip to the park with the intention of smiling at and greeting everyone you meet along the way. Sometimes a cheerful acknowledgment makes a world of difference.

  1. Learn what food banks in your area need and make a donation.

Food banks are important for all communities, to ensure that anyone experiencing income loss or homelessness can have access to good food. Find out what food banks in your area are looking for, and together with your kids, purchase those items in your grocery shop. Some places will also accept a monetary donation, if you prefer. We know how expensive groceries are getting and that a lot of families have a very strapped budget. Here are some money-saving tips

  1. Ask your kids how they want to show kindness.

Kids are naturally outside-of-the-box, creative thinkers. Ask them how they want to show kindness to others. (ParentsCanada ran a contest in 2021, asking how people showed kindness in the previous months, and so many of the answers were awesome and unexpected. They ranged from neighbourhood clean-ups to giving blood!)

  1. Send snail mail to a faraway friend.

There’s nothing nicer than getting a letter or package. In the age of email and texting, it happens so infrequently that it feels extra special. A handwritten card or pictures from your kids can easily make someone’s day.

  1. Order coffee or dinner for someone you love.

Food delivery apps make it easy to send coffee or dinner to a friend (even if they’re on the other side of the country!). It takes a little pre-planning and it might be hard to make it a surprise, but picking up the tab for a friend’s favourite latte is sure to tell them you care.

Originally published in November 2021. Updated in February 2024. 

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