Compassion is our ability to resonate and feel the emotions others experience. It is a skill your child will need to connect with people around them, be a good friend and do well socially. While they may not know how at this stage, your child is more than capable of kindness and compassion with your help. The guidance below from a prep school in Twickenham shares how.
Build Their Understanding
The first step is to work on their understanding of feelings and emotion. They are what make us human and while we’re all different, there are common signs that can be spotted. You can explore these with your child and build their understanding of body language and their emotional intelligence. This can be done simply by pointing to different examples around you in day to day life or modelling them through role play.
Why Compassion Is Important
You should also explore why compassion for others is important. It is what makes the world a better place, and in return we can receive the same kindness.
Their Own Emotions
The best way for a child to understand how others feel is for them to consider their own emotions so that they can empathise and identify the best way of dealing with situations. This will come from them putting themselves in others’ shoes and thinking about how they’d want to be treated in their circumstances.
Learning to Think Before They Act
To follow on from the point above, children must learn to think before they act to be considerate of others and handle matters respectfully. This can again be worked on through encouraging them to put themselves in others’ shoes.
Believe They Are Capable of Compassion
As they say, labels stick. Children aren’t intentionally unkind or act out, it’s just that they don’t know how to display and manage their emotions. It does not mean that they are bad or unkind and should not be treated that way. Instead, you should believe that your child is capable of being kind and encourage them to be.
Arrange for Play Dates with Other Children
Playdates with other children will give your child the chance to encounter some of the emotions you will explore, such as sadness, anger, happiness etc, so therefore it’s important to give children the chance to socialise with others.
Also, in social situations where other children are visibly sad or distressed, you can encourage your child to respond with a hug and teach them how to offer comfort and compassion.
Praise Their Attempts
Praise can go a long way in providing encouragement and helping children adopt new behaviours. When they behave and act in a compassionate way, be sure to verbalise the importance of their actions and praise them.
Condone The Bad
Just as you explore good behaviour, you must also acknowledge the bad and teach your child why they should not act in such ways, like calling others names for example. If they see behaviour like this, be sure to explain why it is wrong and condone any bad behaviour they display.
Be Kind to Others, Including Your Child
To teach children compassion, possibly the most important exercise is to make sure that you’re setting a good example and treating others around you with kindness and respect. Your child is included in this as what they experience in their childhood dictates behaviours they think are acceptable and the person they become.
Patience is equally important to have. This understanding will come with time, so do not give up on your attempts to make your child a more compassionate person.