Encouraging Compassion in Children

celebree_113Encouraging your child to develop the social-emotional skill of caring for others will help them to better understand and share their feelings, an important communication skill that they will need as they develop. Here, the child development professionals at Celebree Learning Centers highlight the importance of encouraging the development of your child’s compassionate behavior and describe methods of encouraging this development.

Both Black History Month and Valentine’s Day are celebrated during the month of February, making it an excellent time to emphasize the importance of developing and practicing compassion. Compassion, or the practice of caring for others, is a learned behavior. It is also an essential component of a child’s social and emotional development. Instilling compassionate practices in your child is therefore essential to shaping their understanding of their emotions and those of others.

Modeling compassionate behavior, incorporating the teaching of compassion in daily life and establishing regular practices that encourage compassion are several ways of helping your child develop the skill themselves. In determining which of these practices to adopt, consider what methods of compassion you have already incorporated into your life, both on a small and large scale.

Children who are encouraged to develop their emotional intelligence are better able to recognize distinct feelings in themselves and others. This skill will help them develop and maintain strong relationships as they grow. Increased social-emotional skills will also improve their communication, encouraging them to interact with others more frequently and consistently.

How Can You Model Compassion as a Parent?

Maintaining friendships with other caring and compassionate adults, regularly volunteering for charitable or non-profit organizations that support meaningful causes, and providing emotional support for family members or your spouse during difficult times are all simple ways of expressing compassion that you have likely already incorporated into your life.

Taking several minutes to explain these behaviors to your child prior to performing them will help to lay the groundwork for developing their own compassionate behaviors based on your model. Engaging in compassionate acts as a family, such as compiling gently used clothes to donate to charity, will also encourage independent compassion.

Explain and Encourage

When it comes to encouraging compassionate behavior in children, it is also important to provide ample explanation to not only encourage adoption of the behavior, but an increased understanding of the emotions motivating it. You could, for example, provide an explanation for why you recycle, and how that behavior helps to improve the world.

Additionally, you should provide suggestions for how your child can incorporate compassionate behaviors into their lives in simple ways. If they have a new classmate, for example, encourage them to include the classmate in their regular activities, such as meals and free play.

Helping your child develop their understanding of compassionate behavior and its importance will not only help them become more caring and understanding. It will also encourage your child’s social-emotional development and contribute to an understanding of feelings that will improve their ability to communicate and empathize. Selecting a child care center that also supports the development of these skills is an excellent way to extend your child’s emotional learning experience beyond your home.

For more information on child care that helps to shape compassionate children and encourages social-emotional development, contact Celebree Learning Centers today at 410.515.8750.