Among the skills that are essential for a person to succeed in life both personally and professionally are empathy and kindness. To be able to provide emotional support to others, spread harmony in the society and build happy and healthy relationships, it is vital to have the ability to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and be aware of what they feel. If you want to make your children compassionate citizens of the society, it is vital to teach them to be empathetic. There are various ways to instill the skill in our children from an early age. Here are seven tips that can help parents teach their children the essential life skills:
Lead By Example
Some people believe that empathy is a skill that a person is born with but contrary to the belief it is a skill that has to be taught. As for children, they learn moral values by watching their adults. What you practice at home will set the stage for your child’s moral and social development. Show your kids kindness via your actions and conduct with others. Practice honesty and fairness yourself. Since we all are humans, we can never be perfect so acknowledging your own mistakes is vital. You should also help your family, friends, neighbors or anyone who is having a hard time to set an excellent example for your children.
Get them a Pet
For animal lovers, the best way to learn kindness is to have a pet in the house. Children are generally self-absorbed since they are the center of attention for their parents. A pet draws their attention away from themselves and teaches kids the art of caring for another being. Since our pets can’t speak our language, we have to rely on non-verbal cues to determine what they need. It helps develop the ability to read facial expressions and gestures of others around us and identifying how we can help them.
Ask to Help with Pet Chores
Another way to raise kids that are not just kind but responsible and self-confident is to get them to help with pet-related chores. There are varying age-appropriate duties that you can assign your children, for instance, get your toddler to pet the dog and ask your 5-year-old to help feed the dog his quality canned food. The goal is to teach kids to fulfill the needs of another creature and give them positive feedback when they accomplish their tasks. When the kids are with the pet, help them understand how the animals are different from us, what are their needs and how can we be kinder to them.
Share Stories Based on Animal Kindness
Kids learn quite a few valuable life lessons from the stories they read. Stories based on animals being kind to each other, helping the less powerful ones, different sorts of creatures living together in harmony will inspire kids to be compassionate to others around them. They will also learn about teamwork, patience and other skills that will enable them to become kind and empathetic individuals.
Get Kids to Volunteer
Providing kids the opportunity to work alongside animals is the best way to teach compassion and kindness. There are different programs where your kids can volunteer. For instance, the Humane Society offers the opportunity for kids to participate in their mission of helping animals. You can also foster animals in your home until they find permanent homes. Educate your kids regarding endangered species and encourage them to write letters to the representatives suggesting ways to protect these creatures.
Take Kids to Animal Sanctuaries
Kids will learn kindness when they become aware of the dangers that animal face. Taking your kids to sanctuaries and wildlife refuge centers is a great place to start. When kids visit the animals, they will be even more inspired for protecting them and saving their lives.
Jenny Perkins is an Animal Behavior Specialist and a passionate writer. She loves to write about the nutrition, health, and care of dogs. She aims at providing tips to dog owners that can help them become better pet parents. She writes for the blog Here Pup.