As parents, we want to give the best to our children. We want them to have good clothes, safe home, delicious food, and healthy lifestyle. We work hard to make sure that they are well-provided for. Children easily absorb how “easy” it is to buy food, get new clothes or shoes, and purchase more things they need and want. But how do we draw the line in making sure they are not spoiled? How do we let our children know that not everyone is as blessed as they are? How do we teach them to care for the less fortunate?
“Praise them when they help others”
Toddlers age 3 and up can be taught simple acts of kindness by helping others. At home, a simple request for help such as getting something, helping clean up, or helping a sibling do simple chores provides a stepping stone. Make sure to praise him/her and let them know how much they are appreciated for helping out.
“Read stories about empathy, helping others, and sharing”
Reading stories to children have a lot of benefits. It is wonderful bonding moment between parent and child. Stories expand their imaginations. A lot of children’s stories have relevant morals integrated in them. Make sure to add some stories about empathy, helping others, caring and respect. You can also come up with games and activities to act them out. Watch movies together that are family friendly that can help children understand that there are people who are less fortunate than they are.
“Model proper behavior in everyday life”
It all starts at home. Practice what you preach. Lead by example. At home, make sure that respect is shown to every member of the family. Everyone practices good manners, uses kind words like please and thank you, and patiently wait for their turn. It is easier said than done, most parents will say. Yes, it is indeed challenging. But if we do not teach our children first, who will?
“Volunteer in your local community”
It doesn’t have to be a big event. Any small good deed is worth it. You can ask your children to accompany you to a local shelter and help out serving food. You can get together some used clothes to give to charity. You can help out a at a dog shelter to care for abandoned or homeless pets. These will show your kids that caring for others is a wonderful thing, and this will carry over until they grow up as adults.
In the age of technology and social media, it is easy to get swallowed up with gadgets and TV. Let us remember that interacting with other people is still a great way to get involved in the community. It allows kids to see what other people’s lives are like, and it allows them to learn how to empathize and care for others.