Your children’s behaviour and interaction with others is influenced by what they see and hear. When you display kindness and empathy you are showing children that you notice and value their emotions or experiences.
Kindness has positive benefits – for health, social competence, self-esteem and even happiness.
The ability to understand and respect the perspective of someone else is at the root of a child’s ability to be kind and compassionate¹. With ongoing issues like bullying and youth mental health concerns, teaching empathy is an important life skill to prevent bullying and build healthy and happy relationships with family and friends.
Empathetic children are better able to succeed in social settings, and are better connected to and involved with others².
Not all children are the same. Expressing kindness and empathy happens more naturally for some than for others, but it is a skill that you can teach them.
The best way to teach your child kindness and empathy skills is to lead by example. By doing this your child will pick up on your cues.
As you encourage your child to be kind, make sure your children see your actions:
- Help them understand reasons for being kind
- Show kindness in your own home
- Explain your beliefs and expectations
- Positive parenting helps you model empathy
- Discuss benefits of cultural diversity in the community
- Help a neighbour
- Be a coach
- Be a leader
- Volunteer in your child’s classroom
Learn how to teach your kids skill for kindness and empathy.
- Active Listening
- Role of social understanding and empathic disposition in young children’s responsiveness to distress in parents and peers