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Teaching Our Children Compassion

During these trying times, compassion is all the more important. We read every day about acts of violence and aggression and the challenges of putting an end to bullying in our schools. Policies and procedures are a step in the right direction, but small, personal acts of kindness can create a huge, positive impact.

Tips for Encouraging Compassion in Your Children

Nurturing compassion in our children is an opportunity to make the world a better place for them to live. So how do you go about it? We’ve put together some tips to help:

  • Lead by example – Children learn from watching the adults in their lives. When you demonstrate acts of compassion, they are encouraged to emulate your behavior. If you get frustrated, express yourself in words and actions that are respectful and productive. Even if it’s not always convenient, take the time to help a person in need. Opportunities to show compassion are all around us, and it’s always the right time to provide acts of kindness and generosity to others.
  • Show your child compassion – Experiencing compassion first-hand has a big impact. If your child is sick, hurt, or unhappy at a turn of events, offer plenty of tender, loving care. They will then be more likely to show compassion to others.
  • Talk to your children – Show positive reinforcement by talking about acts of compassion and giving these actions value. When watching television or movies or reading books, single out those moments when compassion is demonstrated, or even when it should have been. Talk about treating other children, the elderly, or people in need with kind-heartedness.
  • Volunteer work – Children who are actively involved in acts of benevolence carry the lessons into adulthood. Look for age-appropriate opportunities where you and your child can volunteer. Canned food drives, coat collections, donating to a charity, and other events are meaningful, enjoyable, and an effective way to show consideration to others.
  • Adopt a pet – Consider providing your child the opportunity to care for an animal. This is a great way to teach children responsibility, unconditional love, empathy, and solicitude.