7 Ways to Raise a Caring Child
As parents, we want our children to grow up to be caring, empathetic people. Teaching children to take responsible action is a process that develops gradually over time—from preschool to high school. Check out Mighty Mommy's 7 tried and true ways to raise a caring child.
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Last week I was shopping with my 7-year-old daughter. She had her heart set on a pair of lavender capri jeans. After we hit at least 4 stores, we stumbled upon a rack of pastel denim in shades of pink, baby blue, and…lavender! Annie was thrilled to find a pair in her size when suddenly another girl approached the rack looking for the same pair of pants.
The girl searched and searched but there was only one pair in that size available. Clearly disappointed, she walked away. Much to my surprise (and delight) I heard Annie say to her “Hey, would you like this pair? I’m going to get a pink pair instead.”
Annie ended up with a pair of pink capri jeans instead of the lavender pair she so wanted, but it didn’t even seem to bother her because she felt good about letting the other little girl have them instead. My kid has developed some empathy and caring skills—yes!
As parents, we want our children to grow up to be caring, empathetic people. Though I’ve been raising 8 kids for the past 20 years, it still makes a big impact on me when I see that my kids are demonstrating a caring, compassionateb spirit. I’ve been trying to instill this attitude into them since birth, but of course teaching children to take responsible action is a process that develops gradually over time—from preschool to high school.
So today Mighty Mommy is going to share 7 tried and true ways to raise a caring child:
Tip #1: Promote TLC
Show how to be gentle. Is your child excited to hold the new baby but ends up grabbing her and being rough? Patiently demonstrate another way. Say “You're being a bit rough. Let's be gentle. Here's how...” Then actually take his hand and show him physically what a gentle touch is. (I did this with 7 new babies!)
Speak softly. Your kindness will be a role model for how to treat others. When your child is in pain or not feeling well, be warm and caring—“Mommy is sorry that you feel so badly. Let’s get you all warm and cozy on the couch and you can relax there while Mommy makes dinner.”
Tip #2: Teach Empathy by Example
You’re out to dinner with your family and the waitress brings you the wrong entrees. Although you’ve been waiting for half an hour for your meals to arrive (and the kids are starving!), resist the urge to snap “What’s wrong with you—this isn’t what we ordered!”
Instead you can model patience and understanding. Say, “Excuse me, my kids ordered chicken, not beef. Can you please take these back and exchange them for the right meals?” Then explain the situation to your kids and ask them to consider what it's like in someone else's shoes. "How do you think it would feel to be that busy at your job?"
Tip #3: Write Genuine Thank-You Notes
With today’s techno-crazy world, most people use emails, texts, and tweets to communicate their thoughts. While that is all well and good, I still believe that a handwritten thank-you note is a great example of expressing gratitude.
Basically, when my kids receive a nice gift or service that was unexpected, I encourage them to write a personal note of thanks. I ask them: “What would it feel like if you spent a lot of time choosing a great gift for a friend and she didn't thank you?" and "How do you think Alex will feel when he gets his very own letter in the mail?"
See also: 11 Ways to Raise a Grateful Child
Especially if your child is young, don't insist that he or she necessarily pen the note (merely thinking about what to say is a huge task). Simply write the note yourself and have your child sign it.