Empathy and kindness are essential qualities parents want to see in their children and developing these traits starts early, as they grow. Nurturing positive characteristics in your children helps them build meaningful relationships with others and fosters an empathetic outlook toward the world. In this blog, we discuss a few ways parents can help teach children empathy and kindness.
Lead by Example
We all know children learn through observing and imitating the behaviour of those around them so parents modelling empathy and kindness in everyday interactions, whether showing concern for others, being patient, or offering a helping hand, are teaching moments. Compassionate behaviour is key.
Help your child understand different perspectives by asking them to put themselves in others’ shoes. Discuss situations and ask questions to prompt their consideration of others’ feelings. This fosters an understanding of cause and feeling, and empathy.
Teach Active Listening
Crucial for empathy, teach your child to actively listen to others, maintaining eye contact, nodding, and responding only when appropriate. Encourage them to ask questions and take genuine interest in others’ thoughts and feelings.
Promote Acts of Kindness
This might include helping a friend with a task, sharing toys or writing thank yous and compliments. Explain that it makes people feel good and often has a ripple effect.
Expose Them to Diverse Cultures
Exposing your child to different cultures, backgrounds and perspectives through travel, conversation, books and films encourages discussions about diversity, aids their understanding of perspective-taking and, in turn, empathy.
Foster Emotional Intelligence
Teach your child to identify emotions effectively, understand that everyone experiences a range of feeling and show that it is essential to express empathy towards others, even in challenging times. Remain open to conversations about mental health and teach appropriate ways to comfort others.
Nurturing empathy and kindness in your child is a gift they and others will benefit from throughout their lives. Let’s work together to build a more compassionate and understanding society!