Teaching Children Compassion

It’s not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.
– L.R. Knost
3 ways to teach kids compassion
Its a fact that we are seeing more children being bullied, neglected and showing a lack of empathy more and more every year. We could bring up the topic about parents being the culprit and how it starts at home. Which is true. But think about all the outside influences a child has. Once they leave your space you want to feel secure in knowing they will make the right decisions. You want to know that all your teachings will show up in their actions.
Your voice has to be louder than those outside influences.
We are not talking about screaming voices, or lectures or visions of mom chasing them around with a slipper. I’m talking about teaching them the compassionate side of the world. The ‘putting yourself in someone else’s shoes’ concept. Hopefully this list will add onto all the things you do already with your little ones.
So lets get to it…
When I started doing the steps I’m about to share with you, it was after an outing with three of my kids.
We went to a local pools splash pad. There were lots of kids playing and my kids played right along. I noticed a young boy who obviously had a handicap/special need running through the water very happy and carefree. It made me smile. Looking around I saw many adult faces staring at him, no smiles, just uncomfortable stares. I saw children looking at him oddly then walking away. He tried to play but no one was accepting him, but his smile remained. His mother was standing next to me cheering him on but you could tell her voice was a little uncomfortable.
Then my kids came around.
They asked me quietly what was wrong with him. I said I didn’t know but it looks like he could use a friend. So off they went, playing in the water with this little boy who couldn’t play the way they did, but they accommodated. Later on before leaving the mother walked up to my kids and thanked them for playing with her little boy. My son said, you don’t have to thank us, we liked playing with him.
Teach it with all your heart.
1. Show children what it means to be different
The most powerful thing we have done is having the kids watch videos that normalize all disabilities. There are so many different types of illnesses and disabilities in the world, yet children are still afraid or unsure how to accept a child with it. Im going to take you to two places, both have been so amazing at helping the kids understand and appreciate kids with special needs.
A wonderful teacher travels the world to interview people with a diagnosis. Hoping to create a more accepting world with each video. The link above takes you to his Facebook page with a never ending library of vids. PHENOMENAL. Watch it with your kids, like, right now.
We have been watching this funny young man on Youtube for years. Remember when I talked about outside influences? Well Kid President gives sound advice and light bulb moments to the kiddos in a fun, kid relatable, way.
Its not always enough to just tell your kids how to accept people. Use your online resources, they need to see how our big world is full of different people who could use some compassion.
2. Bully’s are bully’s for a reason
Whatever I share with you here my friends is just what I have found works for us and works for people I have shared this with. On a side note bullying is not tolerated in my home and we are not afraid to speak out when we hear it happening.
Kids are such awesome, kind, loving and forgiving humans already. We have to remember..
1. Kids are not born with hate
2. Kids are sponges and will mimic those closest to them
3. Kids cant always understand their emotions so they lash out somehow
My oldest son was nine when he came home to tell me a boy was bullying him. I then asked him to tell me about the boy. Not what the boy did, but what my son knew about him. Long story short, after doing some motherly recon work, we found out the boy had lost both his parents and was living with his grandfather who was a janitor at the school.
We still had our son approach his teacher about the bullying so it would stop, and luckily it did.
What would you do? We happen to be a wild, outside of the box thinking family. For us? We invite the bully over for dinner!
3. Do as I do and not as I say
Our kids do chores, but not for money. They do it because they are part of the family and part of the mess is theirs. Well, most of the mess. Same goes with helping out a neighbor or friend. It is just what we do, making sure we concern ourselves with other peoples feelings and situations. We have to help each other out, without expecting something in return. It’s the importance of appreciating non-tangible values like generosity, humility, compassion and kindness.
They need to see us walk the walk.
Every person is beautifully made, and innocent at one point in their lives.
Somewhere down the line, life happened. We can still find that little person inside of us, some bury it so far down because its too painful to re-live.
Teaching kids compassion and empathy is only hard if we don’t practice it ourselves. So don’t forget to start with you….
Xo, Anita
Of course there are other ways to teach this topic, Im just touching on the ones we have found work well.
Let me know how you teach compassion in your family!

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