5 Ways to Raise a More Compassionate Kid
Hey, it’s not just your kid — most children put themselves first most of the time. In fact, an inward-looking outlook just comes naturally to little kids: Developmentally, they’re still learning to put themselves in other people’s shoes. But teaching them to care about others’ feelings delivers lifelong benefits, including strengthening their relationships with others, helping them cope with stress and just plain making them happier. Here are five ways to help your kid build empathy.
Talk about others’ feelings.
Learning to label other people’s emotions is the first step to building empathy. When you’re watching a Q Wunder video or reading with your child, ask your child how they think the main character feels. You can also try this in real life. Next time you see another kid crying at the park, for example, ask your child what they think that kid is feeling and why they might be feeling that way.
Divvy up household chores.
Contributing to the family by doing chores reminds kids that they’re part of something bigger. So when you have them set the table every night, you’re not just getting them to help you get ready for dinner. You’re also giving them an opportunity to show consideration and caring toward others.
Mirror your child’s feelings.
When your child throws a tantrum and yells “It’s not fair!”, you might say, “You look really upset. It doesn’t seem fair to you that your sister’s having a sleepover and you aren’t. Is that right?” Showing compassion toward your child by truly listening and reflecting their emotions back to them doesn’t mean you have to give into their demands. But it does mean that even when you set boundaries they don’t like, they’ll feel understood. And that will make them more likely to develop compassion toward others too.
Help others as a family.
Show your child that you look out for others. When you bring your kid along to deliver soup to a sick friend or to volunteer with you, it teaches them to think about other people too.
Catch your child sharing and caring.
When you do notice your kid being generous with their toys or comforting another child who’s hurt, praise them for thinking about others. That attention goes a long way toward encouraging them to do it again in future.
Now download the Q Wunder app to help your child work on empathy and other social and emotional skills, including responsibility and problem-solving.