Article provided by Heather Jack, founder of The Volunteer Family
Similar to other personal qualities, children learn empathy and compassion over time and through practice. There are many things that Bright Horizons does at its centers and schools to encourage these traits, but there are also things that you can do at home to encourage your child to be a compassionate and empathic person.
Modeling the ideals of caring and sharing with your children
You are one of the most influential people in your child's life. A child notices what you do and say. By demonstrating respect and tolerance toward your own friends, family, and acquaintances, you become a wonderful role model for your children.
Volunteering with your children
Volunteering with your children not only teaches them compassion and understanding toward others, but also gives them an opportunity to build their self-esteem and learn new skills. In addition, nonprofit organizations can undertake new initiatives and achieve new goals thanks to the participation of eager families.
Using your own charitable donations to teach your children how to give back
Most of us have donated in one way or another to a cause that we believe in. If you involve your children in the decision-making and giving process, the check that you're writing can go even further. And, as an added bonus, they'll learn valuable lessons in money management, philanthropic values, and community involvement.
Exposing your children to experiences that encourage kindness and empathy allow them to realize that they can make a difference even at an early age. Letting them see how, even as children, they have the power and ability do some amazingly caring and giving things will be a message they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.