Simple Acts of Kindness in a Time of Quarantine

Corona-time is hard.  My children are suffering, I am sure yours are as well.  Yet for the most part, we are still lucky.  Children, by and large, may carry this virus but often they are not sickly or if they are their symptoms are mild and go away quickly.  Still, the loss of school’s routine, the inability to see and play with our friends and even hug and touch them is not to be underestimated.  Sibling fighting is at an all-time high and close quarters with the same faces and no one else to physically interact with can sometimes make for a difficult family dynamic.  Yet it is in these times of challenge that we have the opportunity to really find out who we are, the stuff we are made of and this affords us all the opportunity to teach our children about the simple acts of kindness in a time of quarantine that they can do to make a difference in someone else’s world.  There is much hard science that actually proves that kindness to others, helping those in need, actually raises your serotonin levels and increases happiness. We all need a little of that these days.  I have been fortunate enough to bring back one of my wonderful podcast guest, Natalie Silverstein, with some great ideas!

Natalie Silverstein, MPH who is a speaker, author, consultant and advocate for family and youth service provides some great simple acts of kindness in a time of quarantine. I asked Natalie to pen some of her ideas, Thanks Natalie for contributing to the Curlee Girlee site!  Here goes:

The number one reason that parents give for not being able to volunteer together as a family is time: the lack of time in our busy schedules, the amount of time devoted to so many other competing priorities, the time it takes to identify appropriate service opportunities. Of course, right now, we are the midst of a tumultuous period, when time has taken on new and challenging dimensions. As the majority of families in the US are engaged in some level of social distancing and quarantine, parents and caregivers are being asked to juggle an even busier schedule in the confines of our own homes. Working from home, providing academic support for children who are out of school, meal prep, cleaning, entertaining young children, helping ill family members, or, as an essential employee, continuing to work outside of home at great risk to health – it’s all very stressful and anxiety-provoking. So, there are long hours and days to fill, juggling many competing responsibilities, all while trying to stay sane and positive.

Selfless Acts of Kindness

We are also faced with the reality that so many are suffering: those who have lost jobs and fear for financial security; those who are sick; children who rely on food and services they typically receive in now-shuttered schools; those who struggled with significant hardships prior to this crisis, and who will suffer further as a result.
Here’s what I see when I look out at this landscape. I see people who are hurting, and risking their health and safety for the common good. I also see others who are grateful for their many blessings and want to help those who are in need. I see a groundswell of kindness, compassion, empathy and love rising up. Neighbors are reaching out to neighbors, strangers are helping when they see someone struggling, creative philanthropic efforts are popping up at every turn. As Mr. Rogers famously said, I look for the “helpers” and I find them, over and over again. I see tremendous opportunity, now more than ever, to role model our values for our kids and to encourage them to flex their empathy muscles. In the midst of so much uncertainty and despair, it feels good to experience and share kindness. And wouldn’t it be wonderful to look back on this crazy time and be reminded of all of the goodness we created, all of the smiles we shared, all of the hope we provided?

Random Acts of Kindness Make Quarantine Easier to Bear

I’ve curated a low-pressure “round-up” of some of the best ideas from my book, Simple Acts: The Busy Family’s Guide to Giving Back, along with some wonderful activities I’ve seen and promoted on social media.

  1. Going out for a walk (while keeping your distance from others)? Take some sidewalk chalk and join the #chalkyourwalk movement happening across the country.  Let your kids draw rainbows, smiles, flowers and encouraging phrases on the driveway or sidewalk in front of your home.
  2. Hang a THANK YOU sign on your front door for delivery people. If you can spare any supplies (like bottled water, granola bars, etc.), consider putting together a basket and leaving it on the porch for delivery people to take if they have need.
  3. If your children are bored and looking for an activity, ask them to make colorful drawings or cards for your local hospital staff, first responders, hospitalized children or isolated elderly. Your local hospital would likely accept these donations.
  4. Call or Facetime with an isolated, far away relative. While a text or email is always nice, hearing the voice and seeing the face of a loved one is so important.
  5. Download digital “Stars of Hope” from the Stars of Hope Foundation (starsofhopeusa.org) and encourage your kids to decorate them with colorful, hopeful messages.
  6. Check out the website of Operation Gratitude (operationgratitude.org) to find ways you can become a “Virtual Volunteer” and continue to support our active-duty military, their families, wounded warriors and first responders.
  7. Is someone in your home celebrating a birthday during this time? As disappointing as it might be to postpone celebrations and fun, ask your kids to create birthday cards for children who celebrate their birthdays in the hospital or while living in homeless shelters.  The Confetti Foundation (www.theconfettifoundation.org), the Birthday Party Project (thebirthdaypartyproject.org) and Family-to-Family (www.family-to-family.org) will accept these donations.
  8. If you are going out to the grocery or pharmacy, reach out to elderly or homebound neighbors to ask if they need anything, or better yet, allow your kids to make those calls and keep the list.
  9. Catch kids being good and kind in your busy day-to-day lives. I know the stress can be heavy, and we are all living on top of each other which adds to frustration.  If we notice our kids being kind to one another, or helping out, or completing chores or tasks that have been assigned, we should be calling it out, praising good behavior and expressing gratitude.  These are the moments kids will remember.
  10. Finally, if you have the means, sit with your kids and sort through all of the many fundraising campaigns that have popped up in response to this tragedy. So many hardworking organizations are in dire need, now more than ever.  Food pantries are dealing with empty shelves.  Social service agencies that support families living in poverty report overwhelming requests for basic needs like diapers.  Organizations like Together We Rise (togetherwerise.org) which supports kids in foster care are helping students who have been left homeless with the shuttering of college campuses.  There is so much need, so much heartache.  If your family can make a small financial donation, allow your kids to help decide where you will make your gift.

I hope these ideas inspire you to find time for acts of kindness, to share hopeful word or a smile, even during these challenging days.

Find Natalie on our podcast and here

Is the coronavirus disease airborne?  Listen to Dr. Abdu Sharkway and Dr. Galland who discusses coronavirus updates!

Atara Twersky, Author of Curlee Girlee is a TODAY Show Style Icon. Her mission is to teach girls to embrace the beautiful curls they have with power and confidence. Join us as together we change the “coarse” of curly hair. Don’t forget to watch this adorable shoe tying tutorial by the original Curlee Girlee.

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