10 Ways to Raise a Compassionate Child
When you’re in the thick of things, it’s hard to know if you’re headed in the right direction. This is especially true in parenting. We all strive to raise intelligent, self-sufficient, compassionate children. However, the path to that goal isn’t always clear. To help you navigate the road of parenting, here are ten ways to raise a compassionate child.
- Model Compassionate Behaviors
It may sound obvious to say that children learn from watching their parents. However, adults often forget that children will model negative and positive behaviors. Don’t let your child see you yell at a waiter who spills your drink or forgets your order. Instead, show them compassion by being understanding of mistakes and offering to help when you’re able.
- Be Consistent
If you accidentally model inappropriate behaviors to your children, address the issue. When your kids see you lose your temper with a family member or stranger, apologize to the other person. Then, explain why you lost your temper and that you are sorry for your behavior.
- Practice Praise Daily
Use meal times as an opportunity to discuss the daily events of your family. Praise children for the correct decisions they’ve made publicly. Also, give compliments as a family. Practice congratulations for accomplishments and praise for positive behaviors. For example, ask your children if they are enjoying dinner. When they agree, praise whoever made the meal as a family.
- Encourage Empathy
Be empathetic to your children and practice empathy in daily life. Ask your children how characters are feeling in books and on t.v. When interacting with others, ask your children to tell you how they are feeling or explain the feelings of others.
- Reward Kindness
When your child displays compassion to an animal or person, reward that kindness with praise. Be careful not to overreact, giving your child a false sense of accomplishment. Instead, tell them you’re proud of them for small achievements. For more significant actions, give your children more praise.
- Expand Your Child’s Views
Discuss age-appropriate new stories to teach your children empathy for people across the world. Remember that compassion is not only for those people we know. Often, having compassion for people outside our social circle is harder for children.
- Address Your Kid’s Needs
If your child is acting up or crying, address their needs instead of solving the issue with punishment. Try saying, “I think you are getting tired, do you need a nap?” or “This has been a long car ride, do you need to stretch your legs?” This will teach your children to anticipate the needs of others.
- Manage Negative Emotions
Teach your children that being sad or angry is okay if expressed healthily. Encourage them to talk about negative emotions, instead of acting on them. Also, teach your children how to remain calm when they are upset or frustrated.
- Teach Tolerance and Respect
Educate your children about the differences between people and about accepting everyone. Be careful not to judge others and encourage your children to show respect to anyone they meet.
- Encourage Manners
Teach your children to please, thank you, excuse me, may I and other polite phrases. Model them in everyday life and encourage your children to do the same.
Following these ten simple steps will help you mold compassionate and caring children. The key is consistency and modeling behaviors for the benefit of your kids.
How have you encouraged compassion in your kids? How do you reward kindness? We want to hear your experiences.