compassionate child

compassionate child

As a parent, there are so many things we want our children to learn. One of the most important of those lessons is how to be compassionate human beings.

We all know of parents who bring their children to volunteer at the local soup kitchen to expose them to the less fortunate. While this is admirable, it also isn’t always feasible with work, school and sport schedules. Thankfully, teaching your child compassion can take place during the course of a normal day.

What follows are some simple but effective ways you can help your child be more compassionate– at home, at daycare, at school and on the field.

  1. Be a good role model. First and foremost, it is important to understand that your child is always watching you. Therefore, if you want to raise kind and compassionate children, you need to model those behaviors. Speak to others respectfully and apologize if you have been short-tempered.
  2. Provide structure. When children know what behavior is expected of them, they feel more secure. Have a zero tolerance policy for things like hitting other children or name calling. Habits form character and children need to understand from an early age that certain behaviors are unacceptable because they can hurt themselves or others.
  3. Reward compassion. If you see your child helping a friend or picking up his or her toys without being told, tell them that you are proud of them. This teaches your child that this type of behavior is something to be valued.
  4. Teach good manners. Saying please and thank you, writing thank you notes and holding the door for others are all traits that allow children to understand the importance of valuing the feelings of others. It also allows them to understand the power of a small gesture.
  5. Give them the opportunity to make a difference. While it may be unrealistic for you to bring your child to a soup kitchen every week, that doesn’t mean that they can’t help make the world a better place. If you have an elderly neighbor, have your child make them a card on holidays or bring in their trash cans on trash day.

While raising a child who is excels in the classroom or on the field is certainly an accomplishment, nothing compares to the satisfaction that comes from raising a genuinely compassionate human being. Thankfully, that is something you can work on every single day, no matter where your day takes you.

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