Posted July 19, 2010on:
It is a true pleasure to watch young children show care and concern for each other, their families, their world and themselves. From the youngest of infants, children respond to caring adults – adults that soothe their crying, hold them when they are sleepy, smile at their beautiful faces and touch them with love and respect. This is the beginning of the strong message of care.
Adults that show care, concern and compassion for children display it in many ways. These following ways are consistent no matter what age the child is:
- True listening – whether a baby is crying, a toddler is excited, an older child is questioning or another adult is talking – a true listener attends only to the person needing attention. There are no distractions. Eye contact, body language, words and actions all send a message of care.
- Responsive actions – caring adults take care of concerns physically (a band-aid, a hot meal, a calming car ride..) and emotionally (a hug & kiss, a long talk, a cozy blanket..)
- Time investment – time is often the element that creates genuine displays of care and concern. This investment is seen in caring for the sick, responsible actions in a child’s home and world and opportunities to create something new.
So, how do we help children grow to be caring and compassionate?
- First and foremost, model these qualities in your actions and words!
- Allow questions about problems and discuss responsible solutions through kind actions and respectful decisions.
- Recognize caring actions and praise children when they use them, i.e. making cards for a sick friend, sympathizing with a child that is distressed, managing their own feelings. Help your child recognize and appreciate care others have shown them.
- Expect caring actions and words. From infancy these qualities should be instilled in children. Give words to actions, i.e. “You brought your sister her bottle to make her feel better. Thank you! That was such a nice thing to do.”
- Nurture kindness. Plant a garden and care for it, allow children to care for pets, older children can practice environmental responsibility and a family can intentionally care for a charity or cause.
A kind word is echoed through a lifetime. Be kind to your children!
-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director