Young smiling teenage boy smiling and painting a mural.

Random Acts of Kindness Ideas for Teens

There is nothing that makes a person smile quite like random acts of kindness. It catches you by surprise, a feeling of overwhelming happiness that subsides into positivity and gratitude. When someone does something nice for you, it makes you want to pass it on! That is why it is the perfect opportunity for teens to feel proud of themselves and their ability to spread goodness in the world. If this is new for your teen, a great time to start is February 17th — National Random Acts of Kindness Day. So, why not spread the love on this day, or better yet, all month long! Keep reading for some ideas to share with your teen to get started by making someone’s smile a little bit brighter.

Start Here

Kindness is an action, and just like being unkind, being kind is a choice. Sometimes when we are busy, tired or stressed we tend to fall short in areas of compassion and tolerance. Talking to your teen about being a kind and caring person is important. A good start is to create space for honest discussion. Here are a few prompts to get the conversation started:

  • Have they been unkind to someone in the past, if so why? This is not to blame or make them feel bad. Sometimes their reasons for not being kind can reveal other challenges they may be facing.
  • Is there someone they know that could use some support right now? Remind them to frequently look for ways to share a little TLC with those who need it. 
  • Are they treating themselves with kindness? If not, why? Teens can be extraordinarily hard on themselves. It is our job to reassure them that they, as much as anyone, deserve to experience self compassion.


No matter a person’s position in life, they are likely to find someone who is as much or more in need than they are. An easy way to start is by following the 3 T’s of giving: time, treasure and talent. Encourage your teen to show their giver’s heart by offering their time to someone who needs help, passing on treasures that they no longer use or using their talent by lending a helping hand. Celebrate National Random Acts of Kindness Day by asking your teen to get involved with a cause they believe in. Encouraging charitable acts is a powerful trait to set in motion for the years to come.


If your teen is not in a position to give, maybe they can share instead! If they see someone without lunch and happen to have extra snacks, they might choose to offer their resources. If they have extra school supplies and noticed someone in class is missing theirs, they can let someone in need borrow them. Who knows, maybe the paying it forward idea could help them make a new friend!


“Listening is one of the loudest forms of kindness” -Anonymous.

Being there for friends and family as an active listener is a beautiful thing. If someone could use an ear, it can create a big impact to simply be there to listen. Remind your teen how nice it is to check on someone they care about. Whether they give grandma a call, ask their family members how their day went, or let a friend know they are thinking about them, the simple act of connecting is a kindhearted gesture.


Is your teen passionate about the planet? They can start their kindness journey by giving back to mother earth. Encourage them to start a garden or to visit one in the community. They can formally make a decision to limit their waste by reducing, reusing, and recycling. Or seek out volunteer opportunities around environmental restoration. Their care towards the earth might just create a new positive cycle, rubbing off on those around them.


Teens are growing up! As they mature, they are often ready to let things go. So encourage them to go ahead and finally donate those items they don’t need anymore. Maybe they have clothes or toys they grew out of that could make a sibling, cousin, neighbor, or stranger smile. Or, if they have some extra allowance or babysitting money, maybe they want to take National Random Acts of Kindness Day as a sign to donate a portion of their earnings to a cause they believe in. Encouraging charitable acts is a powerful trait to set in motion for the years to come.


Remember, kindness can go a long way, sometimes just a friendly face can be enough to make someone’s day. Challenge your teen to set an example of random acts of kindness by offering high fives or fist bumps to those who are willing, giving hugs, or paying a compliment to someone who could use one. Just being themselves and sharing the goodness in their heart can serve as a caring act.

At Tilly’s Life Center, we believe a little bit of good can go a long way when it comes to lifting each other up. When teens see the power they hold to spread positivity and make the world a better place each day, they are affirmed of the opportunity for goodness that their life brings. Each random act of kindness is valuable, it could even change another person’s life! At the very least, it makes others more inclined to do good for people too. At TLC, we provide teen mental health resources to support young people in treating themselves and others with kindness. To learn more, visit us at