To help your child become more compassionate, firstly stop doing everything for your child and get them involved in helping and doing things for others without payment. Sometimes the most loving and giving parents do so much, that the children become self-centred.
However children are capable of:
- Doing regular jobs around the house,
- Visiting elderly relatives,
- Making cards if someone’s sick
- Caring for a pet
- Inviting children who are alone in the playground to join their game.
- Taking care of a new child at school or helping a child who’s struggling.
Praise your child whenever they’re thoughtful or kind towards others. And don’t be tempted to pay them for helping, or your child won’t get the feel good factor for helping others.
Secondly help your child understand what compassion is, and how it feels.
Talk about feelings. Talk about how other people feel and anything your child can do to help others.
Children can only give compassion when they understand what it feels like, so when they’re ill make sure that you give them plenty of tender loving care. Then you can help them relate how good it feels to be cared for – and how others feel when someone does something kind for them.
Listen to CD’s or read books about empathy and caring such as: ‘Have You Filled a Bucket Today?’ by Carol McCloud.
Or for older children biographies of people like Mother Teresa or the Dalai Lama.
Whenever you see a film showing compassion or generosity –talk about it afterwards and discuss how it feels to do things for others that go way beyond what was expected.
Let your child see you doing things for others such as random acts of kindness,
- Visiting an elderly neighbour
- Offering to care for a child when a family is struggling.
- Ringing a friend who’s going through a hard time
And talk about why you do it – so your child realises that compassion is a family value.
Finally get your child involved in volunteering such as helping to care for a younger child or toddler, or walking a dog for an elderly person.
It’s a surprising fact that people feel happiest when they do things to help others.
Raising money for a charity like ‘Make-A-Wish’ is good. But the best thing is where your child gets directly involved in helping someone else.
And you can set up a challenge in your home for everyone to do one random act of kindness every day. What a great challenge!
So the 3 tips to help your child to be more caring and compassionate are:
- Stop doing everything for your child and get them involved in helping.
- Help your child to understand what compassion is, and how it feels.
- Get your child involved in volunteering.
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