Raising Compassionate Kids

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Last week, this video from the Junior Soccer World Challenge went viral because it captured the winning team from Barcelona showing compassion towards the losing team from Japan. In our modern world that can be so indifferent to the plight of others, a little compassion goes a long. It seems like we are constantly hearing stories of bullying in our schools that often could have been solved if someone in the situation would have shown a bit of kindness. In today’s blog, join us as we go over a few tips for raising compassionate kids.

Lead by Example

We all know that children want to be like their parents and often emulate their behaviors. In fact, if you visit most toy stores, you will find plenty of toy versions of items adults use every day. So the first tip to raising compassionate kids is to set an example for them of how to be compassionate towards others.  Be quick to lend help when you see others in need and, if you can, try not to pass up opportunities to help others while your kids are around. Regardless of whether or not you help someone, make sure you explain your actions to your child so they can better understand when it’s okay to say "no" and the importance of showing empathy. We love this video on empathy vs. sympathy and recommend watching it to help you explain the difference to your child.

Teach your Child

Another thing you can do to help raise compassionate kids is to teach your child to love and respect others.  There are a myriad of ways to go about educating your child on how to respond to others who are sad or in need, but a simple first step is to acknowledge them when they’ve done it right. You can also talk to them about the importance of standing up for others, especially those who may not be able to stand up for themselves. Help them to understand that rudeness or talking poorly about others is unacceptable by discussing it with them in private when you observe such behaviors. The importance of your words and your actions matching should be noted because it is difficult to hold your child to a standard that they often see you violating. This can easily lead to a situation where your child feels you are asking too much of them.

Volunteer Together

Volunteering teaches us skill development, socialization skills, breaks community barriers, gives us a service oriented heart, and can give kids a sense of making a difference. These are all desirable traits when you are trying to raise compassionate kids. Find big or small ways to volunteer in your community or within your friend & family circle. Making a meal for a new mom or mowing the lawn for a family with a loved one in the hospital are a great way to set an example for your kids. Similarly, little one’s can make care bags for police officers or cards for the local nursing homes while older children can volunteer with groups and organizations. By making volunteering a priority and tradition in your family, you underscore the importance of putting others first.  If you are looking for volunteer opportunities, you can find ideas at www.volunteermatch.com.

Photo courtesy of This Now.