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16 Parenting experts discussing how to teach children compassion and kindness

Teaching compassion and kindness is just as important as teaching rest of the subjects. Kids learn from a different methods on how to behave as well as how to retain the required information. I believe that we teach kids to treat others as they want others to treat them. Most kids should be able to relate to this. The simplest and most powerful thing a parent can do to build kindness and compassion is to model these behaviors/personality characteristics yourself.
Since we sincerely believe, that there’s no better topic to discuss other than teaching compassion and kindness in an expert roundup, we reached out to some of the very best parenting experts and prolific bloggers to help us on this topic.
 

Infographic on Four Ways to Teach Children Compassion and Kindness

This infographic from MomoandMe is for parents, teachers and care-takers and aims to showcase our four amazingly effective tips to teach the children compassion and kindness.

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Expert Roundup on Teaching Children Compassion and Kindness

We have decided to ask the experts and see the tips and tricks reveal themselves. We have managed to assemble some of the very big names in this round up. Here we have listed down our esteemed experts details below. You can either skip to your favorite expert’s tips using these quick links, or be comfortable and read on to discover each expert’s awesome advises.

Támara Hill, MS, NCC, CCTP, LPC
Kerry Alison Wekelo
Andy Petranek
Alice Roberts, CSW
Kelsey Torgerson, MSW, LCSW
Damon Nailer
Enza Ketcham
Theresa Duncan
Julie A. Polanco
Elaine Taylor-Klaus, CPCC, PCC
Julia Colangelo, LCSW
Kate Orson
Jacquelyn Youst
Brendan Mahan, M.Ed., M.S
Alisa Taylor
Amy Webb, Ph.D
 

Teaching children compassion and kindness

Advises listed in the order they were received in. The insights we received from these 16 established experts were nothing short of amazing. Here are some of the ways to teach your child compassion and kindness, according to our expert panel so you can foster your child better.

Ways to teach kids Compassion – Támara Hill

 
Támara Hill, a state licensed and nationally certified trauma mental health therapist. I work with children, adolescents, and families. A lot of my cases included topics such as these. You can connect with Tamara Hill on their website, anchoredinknowledge.com.
 
Teaching kids compassion and care is essential. We learn the foundational rules needed for adulthood early in life. Our parents lay the foundation for us early in our development. Some ways to teach kids compassion include:
 
1. Introducing your child to volunteering, donating, and helping others through charity. Holiday time is a great time to show kids compassion. Kids can donate money, raise money for local events, volunteer their time with an elderly neighbor or their school, wrap gifts for others, help cook a meal for someone in need, etc.
2. Surrounding your kids with movies that have meaning. Movies such as Inside Out, Pollyanna, The Nightmare Before Christmas, ZooTopia (my favorite!), Bully, etc. are all movies that inspire empathy. Movies, literature, and pop culture are great ways to encourage kids to think about others first.
3. Reminding kids to be kind, considerate, and sensitive to others is also beneficial to kids. This will require parents to carefully watch their children when they are interacting with other kids, even their siblings. Charity begins at home first, then spread abroad.
4. Getting your kids involved in organizations. Such as Big Brother, Big Sister, Boy or Girl Scouts, etc. can also provide valuable experiences.
 
Please use this quick link to go to the list of experts.

Questions to ask before going to bed – Andy Petranek

 
Andy Petranek, a fitness coach, trainer, gym owner for 25 years. I am the co-CEO and founder of the Whole Life Challenge – www.wholelifechallenge.com.
 
I have a practice that I do each night with my son when he goes to bed. I ask him the following questions:
 
1. What are three things that you’re grateful for? (prompts – in our house, in your room, people from your past, people today, things in nature, things man-made)
2. What was a big win for you today?
3. The one thing that you learned today?
4. What was one act of kindness you did today? – This one often is the toughest, but gradually, over the past six months, it has generated a lot of conversation and exploration, watching videos, learning about what it means to be kind, and now, he’s doing it on a more regular basis.
 
Please use this quick link to go to the list of experts.

Conflict resolution and Teaching Kindness and Compassion – Kerry Alison Wekelo

 
Kerry Alison Wekelo, Author, Parent, 500 Registered Yoga Teacher, Managing Director HR/Operations www.zendoway.com .
 
As a mom, yoga teacher and corporate executive, I feel the best life skill I can teach my kids around being kind and compassionate is how they deal with conflict resolution.
 

Here are the five steps:

 
1. Identify the issue. Listen to all sides of the conflict and remind them that all parties – even themselves – play a role in any conflict they are involved in.

2. Teach them to listen to their feelings. Feelings are natural, and they usually have something important to tell us.
The same goes for others: It is not easy to understand why someone’s feelings were hurt, but we have to allow them to feel the way they think, and we must develop empathy for them.

3. Trust them to make the right choices. Say, “I trust you to make the right decisions. I know you are kind and will work to settle this positively.

4. Encourage one positive action step. Ask, “What is one step you can take to make amends with your friend?”

5. Follow up daily. Children will face ongoing challenges in their lives, so it is essential to listen to their feelings and emotions. These conversations are where you can identify issues and facilitate positive conflict resolution over and over
 
Please use this quick link to go to the list of experts.

Simple things you can do to teach your child Compassion and Kindness – Alice Roberts

 
Alice Roberts, CSW, a Certified Social Worker, who specializes in mental health therapy with relationship issues, including parenting, based in Bountiful, Utah. She specializes in couple and parent relationships. You can reach her at wasatchfamilytherapy.com.

 
1- Model compassion and kindness. If your child sees you yelling at others on the freeway because they have cut you off, or are driving slow, you are modeling that behavior to your children. They will learn that is normal, and that their experience of being inconvenienced justifies their unkind words or action.
 
2- Offer your child compassion and kindness. Similar to modeling, how you treat your child when you are frustrated with them teaches them how to treat others.
 
3- Look for opportunities to get involved. Include your child in service opportunities for those around you. Let your child earn money doing chores, then let your child donate the money to a charity that they pick. Help your child make cookies or dinner for a neighbor who needs help. Help them do yard work for an elderly neighbor. Involve your child in regular small acts of kindness for others, so they learn to be aware of the needs of people around them.
 
Please use this quick link to go to the list of experts.

Importance of Model Compassion and Kindness by the Parents – Kelsey Torgerson

 
Kelsey Torgerson, MSW, LCSW, child anxiety expert at Compassionate Counseling St. Louis. compassionatecounselingstl.com
 
Parents have this unique ability to shape their kid’s perspectives on the world. One of the best ways to do this is by modeling desired behaviors and coaching their children to do the same.
 
So for parents interested in building compassion and kindness, ensure that you’re demonstrating it on your end, too. Make sure that you talk through your appreciation for others, and help your kids do the same.
 

Five Ways to Teach Children Compassion and Kindness – Damon Nailer

 
Damon Nailer, Parent, Educator, Author, Consultant (Life Coach), Nurturing Father Program Facilitator. Website: www.daril.org
 
1. Model kindness and compassion by being gentle and respectful when interacting with your child.
2. Be consistent and loving when you discipline your child/children.
3. Lead by example and communicate to your children how to control their emotions.
4. Exemplify/teach your child/children the proper way to handle opposition, stress, and unfortunate circumstances.
5. Get the family involved in some form of community service and attend local events so they can experience serving, helping, supporting, and interacting with others.
 
Credit Line: Source: Excerpt from The Parent Profile Lesson
 
Please use this quick link to go to the list of experts.

simple things on teaching a child kindness and compassion – Enza Ketcham

 
Enza Ketcham, Blogger, Parent, Teacher. I have been blogging for seven years, and I am also a teacher. You can connect with Enza Ketcham on their website, www.enzasbargains.com
 
1. Be kind and show compassion to your children all of the time.
2. The one thing that everyone can learn to control is manners. Please, and Thank you in our house is practiced as much as we can possibly remember. We acknowledge it when we see it as well.
3. When your child has a meltdown dealing with it while teaching them to take ownership of their actions is the best way. Do your best to get your child to answer a few simple questions: What went wrong? Who does it hurt? What could they do differently next time? When asking these questions do your BEST to not answer it for them. Do your best to not raising your voice. Do you best at getting to their eye level and have a calm discussion. There is more power into them coming up with what they did wrong and how they can change rather than have a parent or adult tell them. It allows the parents to demonstrate how much they care and the child to learn from example.
 
Please use this quick link to go to the list of experts.

Learning through Play – Theresa Duncan

 
Theresa Duncan is a Certified Play Expert and Owner of Villa Villekulla Neighborhood Toy Store located in Fernandina Beach, FL. www.AmeliaIslandToys.com
 
One of the most natural things a parent or caregiver can do to teach a child kindness and compassion is to play! Young children learn more through play than any other activity. Toddlers and preschoolers can learn important social-emotional skills through joining others in unstructured play. Something as simple as rolling a ball back and forth with a friend or caregiver teaches patience, sharing, and taking turns.
 
Pretend play is another simple, powerful tool for showing kindness and compassion. By putting on costumes or playing with puppets and dolls, children assume other identities and can see from someone else’s perspective. By joining in on the pretend play! Using characters to provide children with the words to describe their emotions and to model compassionate behaviors, caregivers can support their children’s social/emotional development.
 
Please use this quick link to go to the list of experts.

Teaching kids Kindness and Compassion – Julie A. Polanco.

 
Julie A. Polanco, Author credited with more than seventy publications, and content writer in healthcare, health/wellness, parenting, food, and more.
 
The best way to teach children to treat others with kindness and compassion is to demonstrate it yourself. Don’t just talk about it, embrace it as part of your life. Children learn by example. We, as parents, need to have discussions about what compassion looks like and then do it. Together.
 
Too often, we show children videos of starving people and homeless people. We point out disabled people and sick people. We say those people need help. Do it together, as a family. If you value the poor and downtrodden, if you appreciate living what you believe, then they will see how important it is.
 
Please use this quick link to go to the list of experts.

The ACE Approach for Redirecting Behavior – Elaine Taylor-Klaus

 
Elaine Taylor-Klaus, CPCC, PCC, Parent Educator and Coach; Author of Parenting ADHD Now!; and CEO of ImpactADHD.com and Co-creator of SanitySchool.com for Parents and Teachers.
 
The most important things parents can do to teach children kindness and compassion is to model that behavior — especially in times of frustration or conflict. When you are asking your child to do something (perhaps for the fifth time), can you keep your cool and continue to ask nicely? Can you show understanding when your child is frustrated when being asked to stop doing something fun (like video games)?
 
We teach parents a simple strategy for problem-solving and re-directing behavior, called: A.C.E.
 
A – Acknowledgment — recognize what their experience is, acknowledge what is going on for them (even if its different for you)
C – Compassion – let them know that you can understand why they might be upset, disappointed, angry, etc.
E – Explore options from there.
 
I often say that empathy + acknowledgment = compassion.
 
One more trick: re-direct a child by asking, gently, “do you have another way to say that?” or even, “do you have a nicer way to say that?” — But again, the tone we use as adults is vital. You can’t expect to get kindness from a child if you’re barking orders or re-directing their behaviors without compassion or kindness, yourself.
 
Please use this quick link to go to the list of experts.

Four Ways to Encourage Kindness and Compassion – Julia Colangelo

 
Julia Colangelo, LCSW, a Solution-Focused Licensed Clinical Psychotherapistt in NYC and her website is www.juliacolangelo.com. Here is my feedback, as a behavioral therapist:
 
1. Begin teaching your child, by modeling. Children pick up on how we treat others. This includes the people we interact with on a daily basis. They hear how we speak when we drive, are in a store, or treat those helping us in a restaurant. Model the behavior you’d hope they reflect as they develop, and you’ll be off to a great start.
 
2. Most kids have questions about social experiences they observe, hear about, or experience themselves. Use compassion while explaining these social events to your children and explore with them a variety of ways they might respond, and point out the kindest way.
 
3. Create, maintain, and develop their values, and your values as a family. This doesn’t require a religious affiliation or spiritual practice, but it’s helpful for children and families to develop a strong framework about what their family believes in and how they can communicate their love, as well as how they believe one can and should try to interact with the world.
 
4. Positively reinforce their acts of kindness and compassion in the home and outside of the house. This means sometimes going out of one’s way to acknowledge the child’s behavior and praise it. This can also be done by observing others in the home, school, or community. Reinforcing by using words and behavior that convey; is something great!
 
Please use this quick link to go to the list of experts.

Children are naturally, Good, Compassionate and Loving – Kate Orson

 
Kate Orson a hand in hand Parenting instructor and Author of Tears Heal: How to listen to our children. www.kateorson.com
 
Our children are naturally, good, compassionate and loving. So from this perspective, it’s not so much about ‘teaching’ as it is about letting children’s natural goodness shine through.
 
When children get hurt or feel disconnected from the adults around them, then these feelings come out through their behavior. For example, a scared child hits a sibling, or a toddler getting used to having a new baby sibling starts having trouble sharing as they are processing the feelings.
 
Being there to help children process their feelings means they don’t get in the way of their natural, good, compassionate selves. Some ways we can do this are to listen to children’s tears and emotional upsets in a loving way without trying to distract or ‘fix’ the upset.
 
Other ways are spending 1-1 time with our child doing something of their choice for a set time period (special time) or setting limits in a loving, connected way, without shame, blame or punishment.
 
When we parent this way we are modeling the compassion, we’d like to see in our kids.
 
Please use this quick link to go to the list of experts.

Teaching Children to say Thank You – Jacquelyn Youst

 
Jacquelyn Youst, the founder, and president of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol. pennsylvaniaacademyofprotocol.com/
 
One way to teach your child kindness and compassion is to show them how to write a thank you note. Even though the child is too young to write, they can draw or color a picture.
 
Teaching children to say thank you is a practice they will carry with them through life. Remembering and acknowledging the people that have helped them or presented them with gifts teaches gratitude.
 
When a parent explains why they are shopping for a gift and include the child in picking it out, the child learns to give. This is a significant practice, don’t rush through and consider it a chore. Gift giving is a valuable lesson.
 
Children learn by example. Be mindful of your daily interactions with others. Say hello, smile, and hold the door for to the people you encounter during your day. Children will pick up on these nuances, and it will become natural for them to extend these courtesies.
 
Please use this quick link to go to the list of experts.

Ways to teach your Child Kindness and Compassion – Brendan Mahan

 
Brendan Mahan, M.Ed., M.S. is a former teacher and guidance counselor turned parenting & ADHD coach, consultant and speaker. When he isn’t working with families, he provides workshops for schools, mental health agencies, and community groups on Resilience, Social Emotional Learning, ADHD, and the Emotional Impact of Learning Disabilities. Website: adhdessentials.com
 
Modeling is a great way to teach your child kindness and compassion. This can take place in both small and large ways, but to make it effective, you must share your thinking on why you’re practicing kindness and compassion.
 
Small acts of kindness and compassion show your children the importance of both, and that behavior model for them. This can be anything from helping a friend in need before that ask for help, to forgiving your child for their mistakes. Even the big ones. The key is to be clear about why you are doing the things you’re doing.
 
Explain to your child that even though your friend didn’t ask for the banana bread, or for you to clean their dishes, you are bringing it to her because she isn’t feeling well, and the banana bread both shows that you are thinking of her, and gives her something good to eat while she is stuck at home feeling sick. Doing the dishes while you dropped off the banana bread took something off your friend’s plate, and make their life a little easier. Talk to your child about their mistake, and how it affected the family, but also make it clear that you love them regardless of their transgressions, and that you forgive them.
 
In the larger picture, you can provide them with experiences that illustrate the need for these qualities. Bring them to volunteer at an at the Special Olympics. Help them go through their things to donate to those less fortunate. You can even carry packages in your car to give to the homeless during your travels. Seeing you doing this will model for your child the importance of caring for others, even if they are not in your social circle.
 

Speak to the Children

 
Again, talking about why you’re doing these things is critical. Use these experiences to help your child see the larger world, and speak to them about what they see. This exposure to people in the circumstances different from their own will help them develop empathy for those who are different from them, and that leads directly to kindness and compassion.
 
When your child sees you behaving with kindness and compassion, they will learn to do the same. Discussing the reasons why you do these things will help them internalize their behavior, and understand why it is important.
 
Please use this quick link to go to the list of experts.

Simple Tips for Parents to put Kindness in Action – Alisa Taylor

 
Alisa Taylor, Online Safety Expert.Empowering Parents to Keep their Kids Safe and Kind Online. Business: The Lotus Page website: thelotuspage.com
The best thing parents can do to ensure their children display kind, a compassionate behavior is to model that behavior themselves. We are the most important people in our children’s lives, and they will naturally mimic our behavior and habits. By demonstrating kindness in our everyday interactions, our kids will model that behavior. It may not be that same day, but over time, it will happen.
 
Talk to your kids about the meaning of empathy. This will encourage them to consider how others feel and help them understand certain behavior. When kids can attach a feeling to a situation, they are more likely to show compassion.
 
Here are some simple tips for parents to put kindness in action:
 
– In the morning, ask your child what are three kind things they can do that day. They can be as simple as giving the dog some extra pats or making a card for one of their friends.
– Volunteer in your community with your child. As they expand their awareness of people in the community, especially vulnerable people or animals, their empathy muscle will strengthen.
– Stop and talk to them when you hear them say unkind things. Ask them what may be happening in that person’s life that caused them to act a certain way. Brainstorming ideas about what that person may be going through will decrease the aggression and increase the compassion.
– Perform random acts of kindness. The best part about being kind to others is that it is contagious! Performing, receiving and even witnessing a kind act not only improves our mood but we are more likely to reciprocate that kindness as well.
– Practice gratitude.
 
At the end of the day, ask your kids to name three things they are grateful for. Developing a gratitude practice leads to more generous, optimistic and happier kids.
 
Please use this quick link to go to the list of experts.

Four Easy Fixes to Teach Kindness and Compassion – Amy Webb

 
Amy Webb, Ph.D, a parent blogger and also have a Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Sciences; plus a mom of two little boys. Website: The Thoughtful Parent thoughtfulparent.com
 

Point out acts of kindness when you see them in everyday life:

 
We (hopefully) experience little acts of kindness all the time–a store clerk that was extra helpful, a teacher who was super patient on a hard assignment. Sometimes we take these things for granted, but if we notice and help our kids notice their kindness, it will go a long way to showing them what compassion looks like in everyday life.
 

Kids need a lot of repetition:

 
If you are trying to teach your kids little acts of kindness like saying thank you to waitresses, teachers, etc., it may take longer for it to sink it than you think. Kids usually respond well to habits and routines if you are consistent. Don’t feel discouraged if you have to repeat instructions for courteous manners–they will eventually get it.
 

Walk the walk; not just talk the talk:

 
Studies from Harvard’s Make Caring Common project has shown that while most parents value kindness, most kids are *not *getting that message. Most kids think their parents appreciate their kids’ academic success or happiness more than their kids being kind. To help reduce this gap between rhetoric and reality, parents have to show through their actions that they value kindness. This means being examples to our kids in everyday life–using kind words to taxi drivers and waiters, asking teachers about kids’ kindness towards classmates (not just their grades), etc.
 

Practice makes perfect:

 
Practice acts of simple kindness in everyday life. This can be easy things that kids like to do anyway. For example, make cookies to take to the local police station, donate toys to a charity, visit a nursing home or make crafts to take to a children’s hospital. Although we are all busy, little acts of kindness can make a big difference.
 
Please use this quick link to go to the list of experts.

Thank You

 
A big thanks to everyone who contributed to this awesome effort! Please share if you think it was useful! Make sure you follow MomoandMe on Twitter for more awesome parenting tips and hacks. Why not subscribe to our blog? It’s fast, easy, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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16 Parenting experts discussing how to teach children compassion and kindness
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16 Parenting experts discussing how to teach children compassion and kindness
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Expert roundup on teaching compassion and kindness to children. Since we sincerely believe, that there’s no better topic to discuss other than teaching compassion and kindness in an expert roundup, we reached out to some of the very best parenting experts and prolific bloggers to help us on this topic.
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Comments

2 comments

    martha Mcdowell

    December 27, 2017

    Thank you for this work by all of the authors above. I am a retired Waldorf Teacher of 23 years. Waldorf teachers are trained with the CHILD as the center from which to answer all of the questions or obstacles that arise in parenting and teaching through a developmental model. We look at the how the child will receive instruction or coaching dependent on the age. I pretty much agreed with most of what has been said in this but not one expert has discussed the “right thing at the right time” approach. So, for instance, it is very appropriate and successful for a child older than 8-9 yrs to ponder gratitude at bedtime, yet it is not for a 4 yo. modeling good behavior, manners, attitude is truly the only way to effectively “teach” a younger child. children before the 9 year change are imitators-it’s their genius, and conversely, “talking ” to a younger child about his or her behavior that is so often beyond their control, is wasted. beyond a very brief redirection, “We do not hit …etc” is lost on the child young enough to be reacting to life v. responding with an older and mature consciousness. I fear the omission of the development realities and thus the receptivity for redirection, will lead parents astray. this will lead to frustration as inappropriate attempts will backfire. “Talk is cheap” is never so true as when an adult is trying to reason with a young, pre-conscious age child, or a young person in the throes of an emotional storm. in that case, comfort is always the first approach. i appreciate open discussions about raising healthy children & felt compelled to add my two cents.

      MomoandMe

      December 27, 2017

      Thanks for sharing your words of wisdom. Love & Respect.
      Arun

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