At a time in history when there is so many challenges, it is encouraging to see people stepping up to provide random acts of kindness to others. Through simple acts of kindness, young people can experience the joy of making someone smile, or better yet, making someone’s day—especially now during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The many benefits to others by these random acts of kindness will also benefit that giver in a variety of positive ways. Research shows that giving to others actually improves self-confidence and gives young people a sense of purpose. Experiencing a sense of connectedness with others can also improve mood, decrease stress, and even boost the immune system.
Never before have random acts of kindness been more welcome or meaningful as during the coronavirus pandemic. There are many ways that compassionate youth can contribute to help others during this time, while also practicing physical distancing and other safety measures.
The most important consideration when approaching these random acts of kindness ideas is that the activity does not have to be a big thing. Even the smallest little acts of kindness will be a rewarding experience for both the giver and the receiver.
Here are 25 Random Acts of Kindness Ideas for Teens:
- Sew some masks! If you know how to sew, why not make some masks and pass them out to neighbors? And if you don’t know how to sew, check out these directions for no-sew masks here! Get creative and know that you will be helping others feel safe.
- Show your gratitude to healthcare workers by creating colorful and thoughtful thank you cards.
- Grab a friend and go on trash patrol in your neighborhood. Picking up litter and recycling are just a couple of ways we can be kind to our planet!
- Offer one nice compliment a day to a friend, teacher, or family member. The smiles they receive in return will make you feel encouraged to make this a daily habit. During the physical distancing era, this can easily be accomplished on social media, text messaging, Zoom or FaceTime session. Whatever medium you use, say something kind to someone. It will make their day!
- Organize a local food drive in your neighborhood. Get the word out that you will be accepting canned food donations during a specified period, and be sure to mention where the food will be delivered once the collection has been completed.
- Donate old toys, bikes, or sports equipment that are no longer needed to a nonprofit, youth organization, or church. Most will be closed during the pandemic, but reach out via email or a Facebook page and ask where you can drop off the donated items Be sure to sanitize them first!
- Write thank-you notes to family members who have given you a gift or have supported you this year. It is very meaningful for a family member to receive an actual handwritten note from you, versus an email or text.
- Visit the grandparents from a safe distance. If you can’t visit your grandparents in person, try to carve out some time with them by chatting on the phone or FaceTiming. Seeing your face will brighten their day!
- Take a social media break and check-in with yourself. Remember that being kind also includes being kind to your mind!
- Spearhead a group activity to make and send ‘Get Well’ cards for the kids in the local hospital.
- Offer to help tutor fellow students or younger students in a particular subject that you have achieved some mastery in.
- Volunteer to help out a senior neighbor, such as taking the trash cans out to the curb, cooking a meal, walking their dog, or helping with the yard work. During the coronavirus event, many homebound seniors will appreciate a home-cooked meal or to have their dog walked.
- Offer to babysit younger siblings so parents can enjoy some quiet time together.
- Organize a collection of items for military care packages that can be sent overseas to our deployed service members. These can be handmade cards, baked goods, snacks or candy, magazines, personal care items like lotions, lip balm, and deodorant, a beautiful work of art created by the teen. Take special care to sanitize all items that are shipped during the pandemic. The U.S. Post Office offers free ”Military Care Kit” shipping supplies upon request.
- If you regularly attend a service, why not join the youth group where abundant volunteer activities are planned for teens to participate in? While many churches and services are currently closed, now is a great time to plan activities for when they reopen in the future. Volunteer to help plan some amazing charitable activities.
- Help a sibling with their homework assignment. That sibling will be extremely grateful for your help, and so will your parents or guardian! Parents have been tasked with overseeing distance learning during the COVID-19 event and will appreciate the assistance.
- Organize a group to virtually perform a medley of songs for a senior citizen community. Practice together a few times so you can put on a great show for these folks. Research shows that seniors are feeling increased feelings of loneliness during this time, so they will appreciate you bringing sunshine their way!
- Make up with someone you have been on the outs with and/or take the time to evaluate that relationship. Carrying emotional baggage weighs you down, and you deserve to have positive relationships in your life.
- Clean out your closet and separate the clothes you are no longer wearing. Donate them to a local shelter near you!
- Check-in on a friend by calling or texting them encouraging words. Even if someone is acting strong, they may still need to talk to someone. And one of the best things you can do is listen.
- Practice self-care by engaging in exercise, meditation, or talk to someone about how you feel. These are challenging times, and taking care of yourself and your mental health is extremely important.
- Offer your assistance to a parent or guardian, such as cooking dinner, mowing the lawn, or cleaning the garage. With all the time together at home, there are plenty of opportunities to show your gratitude for your parents or guardians by offering to do a little something extra.
- Be a positive role model for others by setting a good example for peers or siblings. Show others what it looks like to be kind and giving to others and they will want to emulate you.
- Stand up for a friend who is being mistreated or bullied, and remember that you can always be an ally. The friend will never forget how you came to their aid when needed.
- Tell a teacher, a parent, a guardian, a youth pastor, or anyone influential in your life that they are important to you, and why. If you can’t do that in person right now in person, write a short note or create a card to help brighten their day.
Youth who practice such random acts of kindness ideas will be developing positive character traits in the process. Share this list of ideas with your friends, family, and community members, encouraging them to make someone’s day very special!
Dr. Arastou Aminzadeh is a triple board certified physician in psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry, and addiction medicine, and is the co-founder of BNI Treatment Centers in Agoura Hills, California. BNI Treatment Centers is a residential mental health program designed for teens ages 12-17. BNI Treatment provides a safe, supportive space for teens to focus on mental wellness.