5 Ways to Raise Kind-Hearted Kids
How do we raise a kind-hearted child? Kind-heartedness and empathy are traits that can be cultivated. But it was my son and his friends who helped me recognize that the best way to nurture kind-heartedness are always real, meaningful, face to face experiences.
Years ago, our youngest child arrived home with a message from their teacher requesting parents to assist on a class excursion. Little did I know that this event would nurture compassion in my child and his peers. The credit goes to Cindy Hollinger, my son’s teacher, who motivated her pupils to spend their Saturday morning in a race called “Lauren’s Run” organized by the City of Hope.
As we entered the parking area, each kid was greeted by a grown-up volunteer who expressed gratitude for their participation in aiding kids with cancer to recuperate. I observed their faces light up as they realized that their contributions were valued and esteemed. It made me wish that more kids could have participated in the event.The competition took place and the children ran, prizes were given out, a delightful brunch was served, and once again, all the kids were appreciated for their time. While driving back home, overhearing the conversation of my young passenger was the ultimate confirmation of why grown-ups should motivate children to serve others.
“They mentioned that it was an enjoyable experience as they were able to assist Lauren,” one child stated, echoing the thoughts of everyone present. Another child expressed a hopeful sentiment, stating that their efforts may prevent other children from experiencing the same sadness and pain. Before leaving, they all made a commitment to participate in the race again the following year, and they followed through. These children embodied kindness and empathy, as they were able to empathize with Lauren and understand her emotions. On that day, they ran not for personal gain, but to aid Lauren. Their victory that day was not just the physical achievement, but the realization that their compassionate actions can have a positive impact.
It is not a quick process to teach our kids to understand and value the emotions and requirements of others. Initially, children tend to be self-centered and focus on their own needs. However, with time and guidance, they can learn to empathize with others and comprehend their perspectives. As a parent, you can aid in this development by practicing these five strategies to encourage compassionate and considerate behavior in your child.
5 Secrets That Raise Kind-Hearted Kids
Research tells us empathy is a trait we can develop in our kids. Here are a few simple secrets to help your child learn to feel for the views of others, develop a strong, caring mindset.
1. Point Out Other People’s Feelings
Observing and highlighting the nonverbal communication of individuals in various emotional conditions, along with their situations, can be advantageous in teaching your child empathy. Whenever the opportunity arises, describe your apprehension and the hints that assisted you in gauging their emotions. For instance, you may say, “Did you see how Sally looked when you were playing with her today? I was worried because she appeared anxious about something. Perhaps you should talk to her and find out if everything is fine.”
2.Switch Roles to Feel The Other Side
Michael was a student in my special education class who had difficulty empathizing with others. One day, he unintentionally hurt another student’s feelings through teasing. I tried to explain how sad the other child was, but Michael just couldn’t comprehend it. On the floor, I noticed a wire hanger which I quickly fashioned into a large circle. I then suggested that Michael put his head through the hole and pretend to be the other student, Stevie. I took on the role of Michael and proceeded to say, “Stevie, your haircut makes you look dumb.” Through this role play, Michael was able to understand how Stevie felt. The wire hanger acted as a prop for Michael to step into the other child’s perspective.
You can help your young child act out the other person’s perspective using puppets, dolls, or even toy action figures. As kids get older you can just ask, “Switch places and take the other person’s side. How would you feel if you were in her place?
3. Imagine Someone’s Feelings
To help your child develop empathy towards others, you can encourage her to imagine how someone else might feel in a particular situation. For instance, if your child has written a get well card to her grandma, you can ask her to imagine how her grandma would feel upon receiving it. To do this, you can have your child pretend to be her grandmother opening the mailbox and finding the card. By extending this exercise, you can also ask your child to imagine how a new student might feel when starting at a new school and not knowing anyone.
4. Be the Example You Want Your Kid To Become
Kids don’t learn to be caring, kind and compassionate just by us telling them about it. They learn it best through our own example. Every week or so, you might stop and ask yourself, “What deeds have I done this week that show my kids I value caring? How am I helping my child become kind-hearted?
The possibilities for making a positive impact in the community are vast and varied. Some simple actions that can be taken include baking cookies to welcome a new neighbor, donating old toys to the local fire department for distribution to children in need, coaching a youth sports team, serving as a room parent in a classroom, preparing a hot meal for a sick friend, or creating or buying a baby blanket to donate to a family shelter. It’s also a good idea to involve your child in these acts of kindness so they can learn the value of caring for others. By teaching children the importance of kindness and demonstrating how it can improve the world, we can instill these values in the next generation.
5. Use Moral Discipline
Martin Hoffman, a renowned researcher from the University of Michigan, conducted a significant study on empathetic children. His objective was to identify the discipline methods that parents of such children typically employ, and the outcome was unequivocal.It was apparent that parents of empathetic children most commonly make use of reasoning while disciplining them for their unkind actions. Through reasoning, parents sensitize their children towards the emotions of others, thereby helping them comprehend the impact their actions can have on others. As parents, this is an essential aspect to remember when we have to confront our children regarding any unkind behavior they display.
In today’s world, where violence, bullying, and insensitivity are becoming more prevalent, it is crucial that we focus on promoting empathy, especially for our children, who are often exposed to these negative influences. Parents should be mindful of their child’s media consumption to ensure they are not exposed to harmful content. Developing the ability to understand and relate to others’ emotions may be the solution to creating a more tolerant society and reducing violence and peer cruelty.The good news is that empathy and kindness can be taught and cultivated in children, which can be a valuable gift from parents. By nurturing a child’s heart to be strong and compassionate, parents can leave a lasting legacy for future generations. This gift of empathy can be passed down from one generation to another, creating a positive impact that lasts forever.