We all want our children to grow up to be caring and compassionate people. But do we have to wait for them to grow up or can children be caring and compassionate, too? Yes, absolutely. Does this happen naturally? No.
Showing empathy and concern for others is an act of unselfishness. I believe feeling concern and compassion for others is a learned behavior, and hopefully, our children can learn it from us.
These eight daily strategies will give you a starting point to help your children truly care for others.
1. Make helping others a family affair. Learning how to help and care for others is much easier caught then taught. Our children learn so much by watching our attitude and our actions. Whether we like it or not, we are our children’s best example.
2. Teach your kids to find the everyday abundance around them and help them to think of people with whom they can share. As adults, no matter how simply or extravagantly we may live, we sometimes forget how much abundance we have around us every day, but if we listen, our children will remind us.
Encourage them to share their drawings of the morning sunrise, their writings and pictures of their favorite toy and their craft projects with daddies who have been gone at work all day, with grandparents who love hearing from their grandchildren, with the elderly neighbor who would love a visit from you and your child. Look for the abundance in your own life and share it with your family.
3. Help your children be creators and not destroyers. Teach respect for the earth and their environment by cleaning up after themselves. Guide them in learning how to take care of their own possessions (bedroom, toys, tools) and how to respect other people’s property.
4. Help them feel like a needed and respected part of your family. Listen to what they have to say. What they’re talking about may not seem important to you right now, but it’s important to them. Assign age appropriate chores and responsibilities and guide them in following through to completion.
5. Encourage and show them how to perform small acts of kindness. A positive attitude can develop when children engage in acts of kindness, like donating toys they no longer play with or clothing they no longer wear. By going through their items and deciding what to give way, they can see how fortunate and blessed they are. Let the children carry their own giveaway items into the homeless shelter or the hospital pediatric ward.
6. Help them have a positive outlook on life. Teaching children to focus on things from a positive perspective can help to encourage an attitude of appreciation.
7. Encourage children to find ways to show that they care. Teach them to write thank you notes, help them look for ways to show courtesy to others, and help them to be diligent in caring for their pets.
8. Teach children to be sincerely grateful. One of the first steps in teaching our children to be grateful is to model gratitude for our kids by commenting frequently on the blessings in our own lives. Develop a personal habit of finding one or two things that went well during the day and share them with your family. Then ask them to share what went well or what blessing happened.
Yes, it is possible.
It is possible to teach your children to care about others. Remember that they will learn how to show compassion and caring from their best teacher…you.
And don’t forget to download your free Parent’s Resource Guide for building additional family income while teaching your kids to be producers instead of just consumers.
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