Ways to Raise a Child Who Cares About Others

These tips will give you a starting point to help your children truly care for others.

Showing empathy and concern for others is an act of unselfishness. This feeling of concern and compassion for others is a learned behavior, and hopefully, your children can learn it from you.

Make them feel important in the family

Kids feel included when they feel needed. These feelings are important for them to care for others. In order to foster these, it's essential to give them simple jobs that help the whole family—not just themselves. Sweeping the kitchen, vacuuming the living room, and cleaning the bathroom are just a few examples of ways kids can pitch in around the house. Having a job to do reminds kids that they’re part of the bigger family of society, and their work is helpful to everyone.

Teach them how to be sincerely grateful

By learning gratitude, they become sensitive to the feelings of others, developing empathy and other life skills along the way. Grateful kids look outside their one-person universe and understand that their parents and other people do things for them. On the flip side, kids who aren't taught to be grateful end up feeling entitled and perpetually disappointed.

Help them develop self-control and manage feelings effectively

Children need our help learning to cope with feelings in productive ways. A simple way to help children to manage their feelings is to practice three easy steps together: stop, take a deep breath through the nose and exhale through the mouth, and count to five. Try it when your child is calm. Then, when you see her getting upset, remind her about the steps and do them together.

Expand your child's circle of concern

It is important that children are able to listen closely and attend to those in their immediate circle. But it's equally important for them to take in the big picture and consider the range of people they interact with every day. They need to realize that they, in their own little ways, can impact a community. You can use newspaper or TV stories to start conversations with children about other people’s hardships and challenges, or simply the different experiences of children in another country or community. Likewise, emphasize with your child the importance of really listening to others, especially those people who may seem unfamiliar and who may be harder to immediately understand.

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