Putting a smile on someone’s face doesn’t take a lot: even small kindnesses—especially those that come from kids—can improve someone’s day and inspire them to do something for someone else in turn.
This year, Scouts Canada encourages Canadians to pay it forward with a small act of kindness during its sixth annual Good Turn Week (April 25–May 3) and share their “good turn” on Twitter #GoodTurn @ScoutsCanada.
Here are some great (big and small!) ways kids can give back for Good Turn Week, or at any time of the year.
1. Donate clothing, food, books, and toys.
Have kids go through their closets for gently used clothing (bonus: spring cleaning!) and rarely used toys and books to give to a charitable organization or homeless shelter.
Ransack the cupboards for unopened food to donate or ask kids to give up their favourite snacks for a week and buy healthy food for the food bank instead.
2. Give up a seat.
We’re betting ours aren’t the only kids who can be a bit oblivious to elderly folks, people with disabilities, or moms with squirming toddlers who need a seat on the bus or subway. Ask your child to look out for someone who might need a seat and offer it.
Volunteering on a regular basis builds character at a young age and helps kids appreciate what they have. Use an event like Good Turn Week to kick-start a commitment to volunteering in your family. Get together to choose and schedule what you’ll do as a family.
Here are some great options for family volunteering in Toronto.
4. Do something thoughtful for a friend.
Bake cookies or just visit with someone who may be lonely or down. Trim an elderly neighbour’s hedges or do their grocery shopping. Wash someone’s car. Walk a busy friend’s dog. The key is to think with your kids about what someone else might need or find helpful.
5. Be social.
Social media can be used for good! Express gratitude and/or say something kind about people who mean something to you on social media. Thank a teacher, friend, or family member for the work they do or the support they give.
6. Pay compliment.
Ask kids to think of things they like about the people they see every day and encourage them to say something nice to that person. For example, “Grandma, the quilts you make are so pretty!” Or “Mrs. Smith, you’ve helped me so much with math this year—thank you!”
Making it a habit to show gratitude isn’t just for the benefit of others—it can also help kids feel more comfortable speaking to and with adults.
7. Donate your allowance.
The great thing about crowdfunding or micro-giving is that you know exactly what you’re donating to—it’s much more compelling to donate when you can see photos and read about the person or project in need. And even $5 can make a difference toward a larger goal.
Ask kids to donate their allowance for a week or even a month to a local project you choose through an organization like Indiegogo (you can filter by city).
Or give to a charity project through a microphilanthropy site like GlobalGiving.
Read more like this:
Do you want your child to want to help others? Here are 5 ways to encourage kids to give back—and keep giving back as they grow.
Show your kids you care and stay connected with these helpful tips on how to motivate your kids.