Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Raising Compassionate Children

Raising a compassionate child is such an important thing to me. That is why I am excited to bring you this guest post from Kiddie Academy.

Guest Post from: Kiddie Academy.

Compassion is one of those character traits that some children seem to possess in abundance right from the beginning, while others appear to have a woefully short supply of it. There's the tiny tot who runs right over to his friend when he falls, places an arm around that friend's shoulder, and inquires: "Are you okay?" Meanwhile, his peers gawk awkwardly, or continue about their business.

If it's not in your child's nature to be the compassionate one, know that this is completely normal. Many young children simply don't know how to express compassion, or are not tuned in to others' feelings. But you can introduce your child to the significance of compassion and how to express it. Here are some concrete ways how.

Nurture the idea of our connectedness to communities. All children live in a community and spend time daily with a community of peers, whether in a child care or school setting. Talk with your child about how important these communities are to us, what we get out of them, and how we can give back to them, e.g., taking part in 'stream clean up days' or similar community-wide events. The dynamic and reciprocal relationship that exists among healthy communities and their members represents an expression of compassion.

Assign to your child the responsibility of caring for something. Start with a small but significant task. If you have a pet, you can make its daily feeding your child's responsibility. Make sure your child understands the importance of what she's doing, and how this other being relies on her assistance.

Provide your children with the vocabulary of compassion. You're at the playground and the little boy swinging next to your son tumbles to the ground. This is an opportunity for you to say to your child: "Let's make sure that little boy is okay. Why don't we ask him if he is hurt, and if he needs some help." The first few times this happens, your child may just watch as you talk. But over time, he may find the courage to approach another child in need, and he'll know what to say.  

Nurture your child's compassionate "niche."  Some kids who see an injured bird on the sidewalk have an overwhelming urge to nurse it back to health. Others might walk right by the bird, but be the first to reach their friend who has taken a spill. Encourage your child's compassion in whatever form you find it. There's no one way, or right way, to show it. 
 This article was provided and sponsored by Kiddie Academy®.  The company has been a leader in education-based childcare for 30 years serving families and their children ages 6 weeks to 12 years old, offering full time care, before- and after-school care and summer camp programs.  You can visit the KA Family Essentials blog and LIKE them on FB for additional information.

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Disclosure: The reviews and or opinions on this blog are my own opinions, . No compensation was received. All opinions are my own. This is a unofficial fan site that is not affiliated with the Walt Disney Company or Disney theme parks.