Motherhood -- especially during a global pandemic -- has taught me a lot of lessons, including how simple acts of kindness can go a long way.
Like many of you, a year of isolation, cancelled plans and remote learning has been hard.
And when things get hard in our family, we like to think of creative ways we can spread kindness. After all, making someone else smile can often make us feel good, too.
Here are five easy and simple acts of kindness to do with your family:
1. Leave Chalk Messages
Load up your minivan with your kids, sidewalk chalk and wipes. Then head to the nearest hospital, school or trail and write messages of hope, happiness and appreciation.
If you'd rather stick close to home, simply grab your favorite colors and write an encouraging message at the end of your driveway.
And if you're feeling ambitious, you may even consider drawing a hopscotch or obstacle course for passers-by.
Sidewalk chalk messages are an inexpensive, simple way to make someone smile.
2. Send a Hug Through the Postal Mail
Trace your kids' arms and have them decorate it. Then, fold it up and send a virtual "life-size" hug in the mail to a friend or family member you haven't seen in a while.
Handwritten letters and artwork are always a nice pick-me-up to receive in the mail, especially when so many of us are spending more time at home.
Our kids have sent their great-grandma a scavenger hunt (she sent one back!). They've also mailed lots of creative artwork and pictures to friends and family members.
3. Stock the Little Free Pantries
On your next grocery order, grab a few extra items. Then fill your nearest little pantry.
Some of the items we try to donate regularly are: dry/powdered milk with cereal, canned items with pop tops, salt and pepper shakers, bread, peanut butter and apples.
Check out this website for a directory of little free pantries near you.
4. Deliver a Delicious Porch Drop
These buttermilk brownies are a big hit, especially when we can drop them off at someone's doorstep. After all, what's better than opening your front door and seeing a pan of these?
Whether it's brownies or a plate of these delicious treats (the secret ingredient gets all the credit!), your neighbors, friends and loved ones are sure to enjoy a homemade treat left on their porch.
However, if you aren't sure about food preferences or food allergies, it's important to ask.
You may even consider a non-food porch drop instead.
Perhaps a do-it-yourself craft kit (we love The Craftship and the activity boxes shipped to us!). A basket of puzzles or new books may bring your loved one a smile, too.
5. Fill the Little Free Libraries
Organize your bookshelves. Then grab some diverse, inclusive books you no longer read that other kids and families can enjoy; drop them off at a Little Free Library near you!
If you aren't sure where your closest Little Free Library is, check out this website for a directory.
This post was originally published on www.ShelleySkuster.com.