Today’s guest post comes from Zara Lewis, a contributing blogger for High Style Life and full time mama of two little ones. She is sharing with us ways we can raise compassionate kids.
I hope you find them helpful!
Essential Guide to Raising Compassionate Kids
No one has the right to tell you how to raise your child. Even though parenting styles can be grouped in several categories, each parent brings something new and unique with their own skills and efforts. Still, there are some helpful tips when it comes to teaching your kids compassion. If you want to make sure that your child grows up to be kind and caring, it’s up to you to show them the right way. You can introduce different daily routines into your family life in order to guide your kids properly. If you’re interested to know what types of experiences are truly valuable for your child’s compassionate spirit, keep on reading.
Don’t fear the talk
A lot of parents believe that kids simply cannot understand more complex feelings, but in all honesty, they can perfectly comprehend a wide range of emotions. It’s just that they understand these things in a different way compared to adults. Therefore, it’s never too early to have an honest conversation with your child, and especially when you think that a certain situation requires one. This doesn’t only involve talks about compassion, kindness and gratitude, but all other new feelings that kids get to experience. It’s important that you’re honest with your own feelings in order to successfully reach out to your child.
Encourage social interaction
You can’t expect your kids to effectively engage in serious conversations if they never get the chance to experience different emotions themselves. In that respect, it’s up to you to organize social gatherings and play dates. As they become a part of a group, children are bound to come in contact with various personalities and backgrounds that are different from their own. Therefore, it’s good to encourage the kids to socialize with both their peers and adult family members and friends. That way, children will be able to recognize the needs, problems and desires of others. Of course, make sure to encourage your kids to find common ground with others as they learn about them.
Teach them gratitude
There are many approaches you can take in order to teach your child how to be grateful, but definitely one of the best methods out there is raising awareness about the importance of helping others. All children love to receive gifts and you can use this notion to encourage your own kids to make some other children happy. Sharing and donating their old toys and clothes can have an amazing influence on a young child’s mind, especially when they experience the joy of giving. Apart from gratitude, this act will help the kids develop empathy as well. There are even special programs, such as The Roots of Empathy or schools, such as KidsMatter, that specifically deal with mindfulness, well-being and compassion.
Introduce role play
A great way to foster positive behaviour in children is to make the most out of their fascination with role playing. Young children have a lot of role models that they see in books, movies and even video games. These heroes always protect those in need and offer their help and support selflessly. What’s more, some of these heroes have their own issues as well. In that sense, fun role play can truly help the child understand and develop compassion in the most natural, yet very effective way. The power of imagination is essential for communicating more complicated emotions to young kids.
Pets are a great influence
Nothing and no one can beat an animal companion when it comes to teaching kids about compassion, responsibility and care for others. However, before you get a pet, you have to make sure that your home and schedule allow it. The second step would be to talk to your child and delegate chores. Make preps, teach them to organize a special corner just for their pet and stock up on some pet products and basic necessities. For inspiration, I always browse the Net to Pet site, so it might also help you or your kids find something interesting for the new family member. These things will encourage your child to take over the responsibility of caring for the pet. Even if your child is too young for every single pet-related chore, you can still ask them to join you. Having someone they love depend on them is a sure way to raise a compassionate kid.
The most important thing to keep in mind is to be a true role model for your child. No amount of talk and play will replace the way your own behavior affects the child. You have to set the example that you want your kid to follow because when it comes to upbringing, there will be no do-overs.