Compassion is something I think everyone can have a little more of. These days, many people get caught up in the hustle bustle of their daily lives. Between dropping the kiddos off at school, getting to work on time, deadlines to meet, errands to run, meals to cook for your family, all the cleaning you do with little ones running around it can be easy to get bogged down in the daily grind. And of course you are tired! But once you take a minute to observe your surroundings, you can easily find opportunity for compassion in the chaos of your daily life. It is so important to not just talk about compassion but show compassion to your children. Show it to them by being extra patient when you are at your wits end and also show it towards a stranger as well by simply holding open the door for someone! Here are a few ways you can help your child understand how to be compassionate toward others!
Talk About It
One of the best ways to teach your child about compassion is to simply talk about what the word means. Run through scenarios, read them stories, and take every opportunity that presents itself as a learning opportunity to discuss and grow. Your child can point out examples of compassion as they encounter them in person, in a story, or on tv; and also non-examples; discussing what has occurred that was not so kind. You can even ask your child to personally relate to a time when they feel they have shown other compassion, and when it was also not shown to them. This is also a great time for you to share your tales as well.
Be a Role Model
If you want your child to be compassionate, then you need to model for them what they looks like in your everyday life. Volunteer time or service at a pet shelter, a soup kitchen, within a school, a library, or even a hospital. Your child will become to accept compassion as a part of their daily lives naturally, because you have shown them that you accept it and embrace it as a part of your own life. Always take the opportunity to show care and concern for others, especially in front of your child. For example, if an elderly woman needs help reaching a can in the grocery store off the top shelf, take a moment to help her. If someone drops their money, always make them aware. You may not think this makes a big difference, but if your child is watching, it will definitely resonate with them.
Give Them Something to Care For
Whether you buy them a pet, a plant, or a new toy; make your child responsible for its care. Regularly check in with them to make sure their item is well taken care of and they are doing everything they can to keep it alive (or safe and clean if given a new toy). Your child will understand firsthand what it means to have others or items depend on them for survival (or safe keeping).
Be Compassionate in Real Life
Reading out being compassionate to other people, as well as discussing compassionate acts is one thing. But, actually doing it in real time is a great way to practice this skill. So, the next time you see a child fall in public, usher your child over to the victim and help them up or provide reassurance. If you see a child at the park without a toy to play with, have your child offer up theirs for a bit; making them go without so the other child can be happy for a while. Always look for ways your child can participate in self-less acts that benefit the good and happiness of others. Once they start practicing this with you, they’ll be able to implement these practices on their own, and without any prompting.
Compassion is an innate within us but their is always an opportunity to teach it. Making it consciously a part of your daily life isn’t difficult. The more you are aware of opportunities to be compassionate the more perspective you and your child will have.