"Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end." - Scott Adams
Want a Happy, Successful Child? Practice Empathy Early & Often.
Five Easy Ways Parents Can Help Kids Get Started
We ask children, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” but what if we asked…“What kind of person do you want to be when you grow up?”
Can children answer that question? More importantly, are we equipping them to answer it?
We consciously work at developing manners, academic acumen and athletic prowess in children but don’t always know how to purposefully cultivate empathy and social awareness. To expose kids lovingly to the difficult reality that there are people who need food, elderly who need assistance, sick who need kindness, animals that need protection and kids who need generosity is important to their overall development.
We often think that empathy and social responsibility will develop in time on its own; a manifestation of good upbringing and example. Unfortunately, that is only partially true.
Empathy is a muscle memory - the more you use it, the stronger the body and brain's response to conditioning. And there is good reason to work the empathy muscle in young children.
Research shows that kids who are empathetic do better in school,
get along better with others and form stronger relationships.
Research shows the most successful leaders have high levels of empathy too.
So get started! Here are five easy ways to help children begin exercising this very important memory muscle:
1. Start a dialogue about empathy while minds are open and malleable. Children are highly impressionable during the grade school “wonder years.”
2. Consider what your child likes to do and help translate that passion in a tangible way to volunteer efforts and opportunities to practice empathy.
3. Realize that empathy-building actions don’t have to be huge and time consuming. In fact, small acts of charity leave a big impression and add up quickly with children.
4. Share charitable experiences as a family to help nurture empathy and imprint a socially responsible lifestyle on a child’s developing brain.
5. Explore our site and find activities that make the empathy exercise easy. Your kids can identify local service projects and charities based on their specific interests like helping other kids or aiding the animals. We even have a cool filter that allows you to identify activities based on how much time you have to spend and whether you want to volunteer from home or in-person.
Whatever you do, just get started! Chances are, the rest of it will take care of itself.
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