raise a compassionate child
Parenting

How to Raise a Compassionate Child

Body language is a large part of how we communicate and tells us a lot about how those around us feel. It’s important that children can distinguish between the different feelings that we experience as it allows them to understand their own and respond appropriately in social situations. While it may take them a little while, children are capable of empathy and showing compassion. We’ve teamed up with a private school in Surrey to share guidance and top tips below.

Build Their Emotional Intelligence

Start by labelling each emotion. Your child may have already experienced a few, like happiness, anger, etc so you may find it helpful to go back to those particular occasions and talk about how they felt. There are distinct facial expressions that can help us in recognising them, like the way that we frown and the tone of our voice which you can explore together.

Real Life Scenarios 

When playing with other children your child will likely come across some of these, making it the perfect time for you to point them out and grow their understanding. You can also offer suggestions on how they can help and show their empathy. For example, you can encourage your child to lend out their toys or offer their friend a hug if they notice that they’re upset. 

Model Compassion

As their parents you undoubtedly have a huge influence on your child. They will look at how you deal with situations and learn. By being compassionate towards your child and those around you, you can model the perfect example for your child to follow and teach them about how they should behave. Similarly, you should be mindful about any negative interactions, arguing and being unkind to those around you. It sends a poor message and promotes bad behaviour.

Condemn Unkind Behaviour

Also, if there are any poor examples set, it’s important to talk about them with your children. Condemn the particular actions and talk about why they are bad. This will stop them getting mixed messages and reinforce the lessons you’re trying to instil.

Have Patience During the Process

While to us this may all seem like common sense, it’s not so easy for children to decipher how those around them feel. Be mindful of the fact that it will take some time for these concepts to make sense and for your child to develop social skills.

Small Acts of Kindness

There are lots of small things that we can all do to show compassion and make someone else’s day. That might be to offer a hand when they need it, like your neighbour when taking the groceries in, your child with their homework, or simply just smiling and wishing someone a good day. They cost nothing and can help show kindness to those around you.

Kind Habits

Manners are a form of kindness, and they show others respect. The words please and thank you can go a long way and are words you should remind your child to use.

Putting Them in Other’s Shoes

A way that your child can develop and exercise empathy is to put themselves in other’s shoes. It will help them to understand how those around them feel and work out how they may be able to help.

Role Play Different Social Situations

You could also act out different social situations and practise together through role play in order for them to become more compassionate in specific scenarios.

Praise Kindness

Being kind has its own reward and feel-good factors but also praising your child is important. It helps them to identify positive and negative behaviours and will encourage them to carry on with their acts of kindness and show compassionate behaviour.

The Bottom Line

It’s important to remember that whilst it may take time and effort to help your child discover their empathy skills, it will certainly pay off and help them become a compassionate individual for the duration of their life.

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