How to Teach your Children about Empathy and Kindness

Son showing his dad kindness.

Teaching Core Values to Children

We all want our children to grow into worthwhile adults, but how do we go about raising people who will make the world a better place? It starts with establishing core values that help define your children’s character, and the character of your family as a whole. Which values should be on this list? We believe empathy and kindness should be top priorities.

Instilling Kindness in Children

If there’s one thing the world needs more of, it’s kindness. Kindness is a term that encompasses various emotions, including sympathy, empathy, respect, remorse for wrongdoing, and satisfaction in doing the right thing, as well as unselfish acts done for the good of others. When children understand how the acts of kindness can help others, and learn to intentionally act in ways that benefits others, they’re growing into kind, compassionate people. Helping your children to develop kindness and incorporate kind acts into their daily activities can help them learn to instinctively be empathetic people. The good news is that children have natural empathy, and if you give them some guidance, it’s not difficult to nurture.

Incorporating Kind Acts into Everyday Life

  • Teach and model the golden rule. Teaching children to treat others the way they’d like to be treated is an important part of raising an empathetic child. Remind your children to put themselves in other people’s shoes, considering how they’d feel about something before doing or saying it to someone else. Show them how to do this, by showing kindness and empathy in your day to day interactions.
  • Watch what you say. Try to be in the habit of only saying positive things, and encourage your children to follow your example. Teach them that if they can’t think of a positive comment, it’s best to stay quiet. Help them to learn how to find positive things to say, though, getting around criticism by striving to offer encouragement and praise.
  • Model positive interactions with strangers. While we certainly want to teach our children to be wary of strangers, we also need them to get into the habit of being kind to the people they meet. This is a delicate balance, but the best way to manage it is to show kindness to others in front of your children. Teach them to thank retail workers or servers, encourage them to interact positively with neighbors, and say hello when you are out together and someone greets them.
  • Teach your children good manners. Greeting people properly is just one part of practicing good manners. Teach your children to say please, thank you, and excuse me, and role play different situations, so they’ll know how to use good manners, even when you’re not around.
  • Steer clear of spoiling. Encourage your children to be charitable, and not to expect to get everything they want. Patient, thankful children with self-control will be kinder than children who are spoiled.
  • Be kind to your children, and encourage them to model kindness. Let’s face it, children can try our patience. Disciplining them with love and striving to be kind to them will help them learn to be kind to others. When we show empathy to our children, it empowers them to be empathetic to others and it helps us build a strong, secure, loving relationship.
  • Warn kids about bullying and cyberbullying. Keep a close eye on your children’s interactions, particularly when they’re online. Make sure they are educated about bullying and cyberbullying.
  • Offer opportunities to practice kindness and empathy. Make sure you let your children know that caring for others is a priority in your family. Set a high ethical standard, delivering a clear message about how much you value kindness. Guide them in being kind to family members and peers, and talk to them about ethical dilemmas that help them stretch and grow in kindness.
  • Connect your kids with the greater community. Volunteer, and take your kids along with you. Talk to them about people who may be having a hard time. Help them to feel that they are a valuable part of the community, even from a young age.

Center for Vasectomy Reversal is Here for Your Family

You might notice that, with most of these, the example of the parent sets the stage for good behavior on the part of the children. Kindness and empathy are two of the core values of happy families, and at the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, we love helping people grow happy families. We pride ourselves on helping men improve their fertility through uncompromising, concierge-level patient care. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our team provides state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other fertility concerns. To learn more, contact us through our website or call 941-894-6428.