Compassion is one of the more difficult concepts to teach young people. It doesn’t help that many adults struggle to demonstrate compassion, which can make the topic difficult to approach. Acting with compassion is a great skill to teach young people as it is truly infectious. Sending a compassionate kid to school is a guaranteed way to make sure their entire class is happier and more socially cohesive. So, how do you teach children about compassion?
Lead by example
Children pick up on the behaviour of adults, so you need to be aware of your behaviour and see how this impacts on your child. Think about how you react to different situations and ask if you are acting with compassion. You don’t have to be perfect, but being aware of your behaviour and ensuring your children mimic your best behaviour can help.
Start the conversation
Speaking to your child about compassion is a great way to help them understand this complex emotion. Once you’ve started the conversation, it will be much easier to look for examples in real life where you can act with compassion. For example, if your child notices that an elderly neighbour struggles with their groceries, they might want to look for ways to act with compassion and help out.
Let them take the lead
Allowing your child to look for ways they can act with compassion might yield some surprising results. Helping a friend at school is often a popular way that children want to act with compassion. One friend told me how her child came home from school demanding that she become a foster carer because her friend was in foster care and she wanted them to come live with their family. Two weeks later, they’re in a meeting with fostering Manchester agency, Lorimer. They decided it wasn’t the right time to go ahead, but they are now involved in a family outreach programme!
Volunteer in your community
Volunteering as a family is an incredible way to let your child to broaden their horizons and understand what life is like for different people. If you want to give your child a lifelong appreciation for the importance of helping others, this is a great way to inspire them.