Every parents’ dream is to raise children who lead a life of empathy, compassion, and kindness and who inspire others to do the same. Like all other things in life, children best learn these habits by observing how their parents and other adult figures treat them when they are scared, sad, upset, or angry. Read our top tips for raising empathetic kids and establishing an empathetic environment at home so that your children show compassion and inspire others from a young age.
Be a role model
First and foremost, children learn habits and behaviors early on from watching how their parents act and respond to any and all situations. In the early years of their life and even after, children’s young minds take in and absorb everything they see around them. Not to mention, every kid grows up thinking that their parents are super-humans, and their greatest dream in life is to grow up to be just like you. So make sure you lead by example, and that your children see you living a life of compassion, and they will likely grow up and do the same.
Teach them to be kind before anything else
Your children will no doubt grow to be intelligent, wonderful, witty, talented, beautiful, and brave people in this world. But make sure they know that, before any of these other things, the most important thing for them to be is kind. Teach them that a warm heart and an open mind will take them far in life. More than anything, teach them kindness by showing kindness––to them, to your spouse, to friends, and to strangers.
Hold them to high standards and communicate your expectations to them
The biggest and easiest parenting mistake to make is to reward your children for every single instance of good behavior or after every good deed they do. It’s important to remember that we should expect our kids to be kind and compassionate, and that showing kindness is not always worthy of an award. Be sure to hold your kids to a high standard when it comes to their behavior and the way they treat others, and communicate your expectations clearly. Refrain from rewarding them after every instance they act with kindness to teach them that this kind of behavior should be expected at all times.
Make your child is aware about the world around them
It’s never too early to start showing your children the importance of service and philanthropy. Volunteer with a local charity and bring them along. Talk about the news and causes you care about around them. Raise their awareness even if they don’t completely understand the cause. If anything, they will know that you are passionate about something, they will understand it’s important to care for others, and that will instill in them a desire to act with passion as well.
Empower your kids
Teach them they can make a difference, and they will. Encourage them every single day to show one intentional act of kindness, and they will feel empowered to do so. Stop helicopter-parenting and let your children prove to you and to themselves that they can accomplish anything they want to as long as it’s fueled by a passion and desire to make the world a better place.
Establish these parenting habits early, so your children grow up in a home with clear and defined expectations of kindness, empathy, and compassion. In doing so, your children will learn habits they will use for the rest of their lives to inspire others to hold themselves to the same standard as well.
Check out The Most Important Thing You Can Leave Behind for Your Kids to learn more about our thoughts on family legacy and the importance of instilling values in your children.