10 ways you can teach your child to develop a caring nature
As a parent, very few lessons are as important as teaching your children to be empathetic and caring.
However, the harsh reality of modern life is that the outside world isn’t going to support their development. So you must make it your responsibility to take charge of the situation.
Most children naturally boast a caring attitude, but you can nurture it to encourage even greater results. Here are 10 ways to help you raise Kind, caring children.
1) Teach them to love family members
One of the simplest ways to install a caring nature in your child is to teach them how to love their immediate family members. Helping them to have healthy, positive relationships with you and their siblings is a great grounding for their future.
So, for example, if you are expecting another child, broadcasting it to the world isn’t as crucial as preparing your son or daughter.
Becoming an older sibling completely transforms their world. If they are of an age where they can understand what is happening, it’s vital that you get them excited for the new arrival.
When the baby arrives, praise your older child for all the help they give. This is in addition to support for any affection shown to their younger brother or sister.
Siblings aren’t the only source of family love. Cousins, nieces, nephews, aunties, uncles, and grandparents all have key roles to play too. But naturally, the unconditional love felt between parent and child is the greatest of all.
Show your affection on a 24/7 basis, and it will be reciprocated. Crucially, it can be extended to the other relationships they share.
2) Show them how to love pets
Humans aren’t the only source of caring lessons in the home – nurturing bonds with animals can also help bring out your child’s loving side.
Pets can help to develop a child’s caring nature while also teaching them to take responsibility. And while a dog is often the first option that many families consider, it is a major investment of time and money. Cats are more independent, while rabbits and hamsters are popular too.
If you don’t have the space, time or money to take on a pet, you can still teach your child to develop a love of animals. Little Peckers bird seed will turn your garden bird feeder into a very attractive feature.
Feeding the birds on a daily basis and watching them use the birdbath will work a treat. You can even give regular visitors to your garden names, and track their behaviour every year to help your child learn more about them.
3) Get them interested in green living
Eco-friendly living is an increasingly important part of society. If you have kids, teaching them to respect mother nature can help to support their development in a range of life areas.
From a better knowledge of nutrition to an appreciation of pollution, this education builds better people. Growing fruit and vegetables in your garden will also keep them away from screens. Encourage fresh air and light exercise too, as this is highly rewarding.
You can also make eco-friendly improvements to your home. Obvious ideas include upgrading to LED lighting, water-saving toilets, and efficient appliances.
Once a child takes a genuine interest in the world, that caring nature will spread to relationships. The fact that many of the upgrades can also save you money around the home is another incentive to implement the change.
4) Encourage an interest in political issues
As a parent, you need to balance protecting your child with learning about the world. And that includes teaching them about equality in all walks of life, whether it’s linked to race, gender, nationalities, religion, or disability.
You don’t want to scare your child by exposing them to some of the worst abuses, but you should aim to focus on the idea of treating everyone the same. It’s the only way society can continue to take positive steps and embrace a diverse landscape.
A basic understanding of global issues and the reasons why people do charitable things is vital too. While youngsters don’t need to know the finer details of manifestoes, an awareness of people in power is vital. As long as you lay an active role in dissecting the information, both good and bad features can feed into their education.
5) Make charitable activities fun
Whether it’s supporting the NHS or an event like Children In Need, charity encourages people to care – even at a young age.
The best way to get kids involved is to inject the fun factor. Just Giving sponsorships allow them to collect money digitally and share personal stories.
However, for many youngsters, the real fun comes from completing sporting challenges. Alternatively, they may create arts or cakes to sell at a local event. School fates are the most common option.
While the money that they raise is important, the life lessons are far more crucial. It encourages kids to be appreciative of what they have. Moreover, when they develop the right attitude at an early age, it will follow your child throughout their entire life. This is great news for charities, but even greater news for your child’s development.
6) Encourage personal reflection
Like anybody else, children can care for others when they learn to love themselves. Even at an early age, mental health and emotional wellbeing play an essential role in a child’s life.
As a parent, you’ll always look for telltale signs that your son or daughter isn’t happy. And it’s highly beneficial if you can encourage your child to identify when things don’t feel right. Perhaps more crucially, they must be able to confide in you, especially if they’re struggle with an issue or sad feelings.
All children have strengths and weaknesses, as well as imperfections and obstacles. Focusing on the positives can help children feel more confident in their own skin. And once they achieve that level of self-satisfaction, it can impact the way they treat others, and allow them to accept affection and positivity from others.
7) Reflect on stories they read
When reading books (or watching TV), it’s not just about testing their reading skills. A child’s comprehension of the subject is equally telling. In this case, discussing storylines and characters is perfect.
You can talk about acts of kindness shown in the book, as well as instances where characters were in the wrong. When dealing with the latter, thinking about the correct actions that should have been taken.
Familiarity allows children to prepare for the situations. Should they ever encounter a similar scenario, they’ll know how to handle the circumstances. They’ll also have the empathy and understanding of why those decisions are made.
Completing the right action is one thing, but appreciating the thought process behind it makes all the difference.
8) Grow a bigger vocabulary
A child’s vocabulary may not stand out as the obvious tool for making kids feel more caring. But in reality, the ability to express and vocalise feelings is vital.
Without this, kids can feel confused and frustrated, and unable to articulate how they feel and what they need. When they don’t truly understand what those caring feelings are, they can quickly learn to ignore them. In turn, this can result in negative feelings becoming the dominant force, and cause destructive behaviours.
There are many ways to help kids grow their vocabulary. There are plenty of computer programs, digital learning tools, and books to help this happen. But the best tool to help them is simply to talk. Explain things to your child and use engaging activities. This way, you can monitor how well they’ve understood the new words too.
9) Reward kindness
Human conditioning is a powerful thing that makes an impact on your life from a very early age. It is, therefore, possible to use rewards as a way to actively show that a caring nature pays off.
Most parents are used to praising children for getting good grades and excelling at school. Excelling as a human deserves an equal level of praise, which could mean a small treat from Smyths or doing something they love at the weekend.
Even at a young age, doing good deeds should fill a child with an internal warmth. Celebrating this together is another great way to develop a naturally caring attitude. When kindness brings personal benefits, emotionally as well as through reward systems. It becomes like an addiction – but a positive, healthy one!
10) Be a good role model
We’ve already covered the importance of your affection. However, it’s equally crucial for parents to lead by example. A child’s brain is an informational sponge, and they will always look to parents for guidance.
So show humility and strive to be better in regard to ethical issues. From paying greater attention to social injustice to doing your bit for the earth, those steps are vital. It makes you a better and more caring person while your child will follow in your footsteps.
As a great role model, your behaviours will soon rub off on your child’s actions and views of the world. When used in a conscious way to support the other ideas mentioned above, a caring nature will naturally evolve.
While it’s not the only key life lesson you’ll want to impart, it does signal a major triumph for any parent.
Photo by Khanh Steven