Why would you want to cultivate compassion in your child? There are many rewards for a child who masters the skill of compassion. In “The astonishing results of living with true compassion,” you can read what a compassionate life means. Empathy and kindness are some of the most essential skills that your child can develop.
Compassion consists of two aspects.
- The first is that you are not judgemental.
- Secondly, you are brave enough to address challenging situations.
It means that you not only understand the struggles of others but are also willing to help. Therefore, compassion makes the world a healthier place.
But what are the benefits for your child?
Humans are herd animals. We flourish in communities. And since compassion promotes meaningful connections, it is a valuable tool for building relationships. It creates trust when you respond with kindness and interest. Trust is a fundamental requirement to develop strong bonds and healthy relations. And positive interactions with people around you improve overall health and mental well-being. If you cultivate compassion in your child, you provide a strong foundation that will enable her to deal positively with people. She will find it easier to establish valuable connections with peers.
Compassion facilitates problem-solving. A child that does not shy away from challenging situations finds innovative ways to solve problems. It teaches her to think out of the box in practical ways. She learns to be responsible for her plans and find ways to execute her ideas to benefit another person.
A child that helps a suffering person will realize that she is effective in the world. Her life matters. It will contribute to healthy self-esteem and overall well-being.
Simple ways to successfully cultivate compassion in your child
In the article “9 Easy ways to become more compassionate,” you can learn how to be more compassionate. And you can also teach your child by using the following tools.
Model empathy and kindness
The first and most important tool you can use to cultivate compassion in your child is yourself. The way you conduct yourself is more important than anything you say. Show empathy and kindness to people, regardless of who they are. It will set a good example for your child to follow. Tell her about your thoughts, feelings, plans, and actions. It provides a robust framework that she can use when necessary.
Have conversations to make her aware of the plight of others
There are many ways to initiate purposeful discussions with your child. You can use age-appropriate books, a real-life situation, or a movie to teach her about suffering, empathy, and kindness. Ask questions like “How would you feel if this happened to you?”
“Will these words make you feel better or worse?”
“What would you like people to think, say or do?”
“How would you help the person?”
Encourage her to put herself in another person’s shoes to better understand their situation, thoughts, and feelings. And teach her not to judge anyone.
Roleplay is an excellent way to cultivate compassion in your child. It allows her to feel the effects of certain behaviors in a safe space. You can play the person that suffers and let her react. Then change roles and roleplay different scenarios. Let her tell you how she feels. Together you can decide which approach works best and why. It is an easy and potent tool to learn people skills.
Gratitude is such an important skill to learn. It enables you to be optimistic. Teaching your child gratitude will help her with emotional regulation. It fosters hope and increases resilience. If your child masters the skill, she will have more inner strength and higher self-esteem. You can teach her gratitude by practicing gratitude and telling her what you are grateful for. Teach her to say thank you or write thank-you notes. Please help her to make a list of the things for which she is thankful. Name two daily things you are grateful for and discuss them with your child. You can help her to start a gratitude journal. She can write, draw, or paste pictures to remind her of things she appreciates.
Instill a feelings vocabulary.
Even adults often struggle to find appropriate words to express their feelings. When you teach your child an extensive feeling vocabulary, you empower her to communicate effectively. Start with feeling words when she still is tiny. Play feeling games where you model a feeling with a facial expression and body language. Ask her to name the feeling and then give her a turn. Use a downloadable “How are you feeling today” chart to enable her to express her feelings. Start with fundamental emotions and refine them as she grows older. Download a high-level feeling wheel and discuss it with your child.
To celebrate differences, you must respect people. Teach your child that all people are unique and valuable. Always be open to others. Treat them with kind regard and consideration. There is much to learn from all people. If you make racist, classist, or sexist remarks, your child will follow suit. Remember, you are always a role model.
Volunteering will impact your child forever. She will be more aware of the pain and suffering of others. Helping these people shows that she has an impact beyond herself. It is a way to practice life skills and learn from other cultures. Volunteer to help a neighbor in need, clean a park, feed a hungry child at school, visit seniors in nursing homes, or donate toys to an orphanage. Many organizations will appreciate your help.
Get a pet
Apart from the fact that pets have several health benefits, they teach children a sense of responsibility. The act of feeding, brushing, petting, and taking care of a pet fosters compassion. They also teach self-compassion. They love and accept unconditionally. A pet helps your child to release oxytocin which calms the nervous system. Pets force you to pause and be with them at the moment. So, cultivate compassion in your child by giving her a pet to look after. And as Albert Schweitzer said:” When man learns to respect even the smallest being of creation, nobody has to teach him to love his fellow man.”
When you cultivate compassion in your child, you empower her to be positive, have healthy relationships, and respect others. She will have inner strength and confidence in her abilities. She will realize her value. And she will learn to be compassionate with herself.
“Our sorrows and wounds are healed only when we touch them with compassion.” — Buddha
Please share this article with like-minded parents who want to cultivate compassion in their children.