Teaching kids compassion
Show children the value of empathy by volunteering as a family, donating old toys, or trying any of these reader-tested solutions.
By GreatSchools Staff
We asked other parents to share their ideas for encouraging compassion and generosity. Here are some of their suggestions:
Ways to give
Donate the old
"After every season, I take my son into his room and we weed out all of the clothing and shoes that he has either grown out of or has in excess, and we fill a box for the needy. We then shift over into his toy area and sift through to 'make room' for birthday gifts or Santa's delivery. Sometimes he cries because it can be hard to give away things that carry memories," one mother explains. "But we always talk about the fact that not all kids have toys and clothes, and how lucky we are to have what we have."
Feed the hungry
"Every month, my children help me bake a casserole to drop off at the local homeless shelter," writes a mother of two in New Jersey. "They ask me questions about homelessness, and I try my best to explain why these people don't have what we have. When they help me carry the food to the shelter, I think it shows why we're doing this. It just feels right to feed the hungry."
Share the wealth
"Instead of presents we have decided to view the birthdays in our family as a gift to share our blessings with others. So we have a big party, invite all of our friends and ask them for a donation to our favorite charity. If you need an idea, go to your local library - they will help you find a charity that fits your family," advises one mother in Texas. "We give our boys a gift first thing in the morning, so they are not without presents on their birthday. And after the party, when we deliver the donations, they get to appreciate the joy of giving."
Write notes of compassion
"I have taught my grandchildren to appreciate an encouraging note from friends," says a grandma and guardian of two. "I will gather my friends to help us prepare 'goodie bags' for homeless people. These bags consists of an encouraging note, some fruit or candy, and sometimes a couple of dollars. We also provide a small pillow (made with love and care) and some of our old but lightly used blankets and outerwear (hats, sweaters, coats and scarves). Our children need to know the importance of sharing and caring, because it's not a guarantee that we will always be financially able to sustain our present lifestyle."