How do you teach children kindness? Children are all capable of kindness, it’s just a matter of showing them how and teaching them why they feel the way that we do to develop their empathy. This is what we call emotional intelligence. The first step to teaching children compassion which you can work on by pointing out different emotions and building your little one’s understanding of body language. Here’s some guidance that we’ve put together with a private boys’ school in London to help you.
As well as real life, TV can teach children about the body language we display when feeling particular emotions. Your child can look at these situations as an outsider and learn about what’s appropriate and the right thing to do.
Putting Themselves in Others’ Shoes
Children must be able to put themselves in others’ shoes. There is no way that you can train your child for every single social encounter they have, but what you can do is get them into the habit of thinking of others. Encourage them to consider how they might feel and how they would like to be treated in a similar situation.
It’s not always easy for children to work out what’s best for them to do, so you should offer examples and ideas. For example, suggest that they give their peers/brother or sister a hug if they are sad.
To build their social skills and help them in exercising compassion, it’s a good idea to set up playdates with other children. This will of course help your child become familiar with the various emotions we’re presented with, learn how to respond and be a good friend to those around them.
Telling Them Off
Children misbehave and sometimes they aren’t aware that what they are doing is wrong. To help them learn right from wrong and how they should behave around others, it’s important that you condemn your child’s actions and in a constructive way by teaching them how to apologise.
Small Acts of Kindness
There are small ways that children can show kindness and compassion to others, like by listening to their problems, smiling, asking how others are doing, etc.
Set a Good Example
Last but by no means least, it goes without saying that you should also be wary of your own actions around your child. Be sure to lead by example and demonstrate compassion to others in their presence, as well as of course refraining from unkind behaviours.