As school terms come to a close and summer begins to set in, we feel it is important to share some ways you can help your kids better understand what it means to be compassionate.
Children watch and learn many things both consciously and unconsciously. They observe our behavior, that of their teachers, their fellow classmates, and people they admire. If you are a parent helping a friend through a difficult time, invite your child to sit with you as you prepare a gift basket, or ask their opinion on what to write in a get-well card. Including your child in these scenarios will allow them to ask questions and feel like they are contributing. It will also tonight curiosity and allow opportunities for you to share your values, or otherwise teach them compassionate behaviors.
Another thing we can do is when they arrive home from school, ask questions beyond “What did you learn today”, by asking questions that make them consider their friend’s experiences. Instead of “Did you perform well” you could ask “How did that lesson make you feel” or “How did your friend feel when you said or did that today”. This invites them to consider their own feelings and the feelings they witnessed their friend experience. If their reactions to similar circumstances differ when they pertain to themselves versus their peers, see it as an opportunity to teach them that all people are equal, and their feelings should be just as valid as their own.
These are two ways we can begin to incorporate higher-level thinking into our children’s consideration of their daily lives. They won’t necessarily pick up on it on their own; it’s likely they are at an age where their own human experience is the only one they consider, so invite them to consider others whenever possible to help them understand compassion, and pass it along.
If you would like to learn more about bullying, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.