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5 Ways to Raise Compassionate Kids

By Jessa McClure
By Jessa McClure

Boy holding a tomatoIn a world that values self over others, it can be difficult to find ways to bring your kids back down to earth, and teach them to show compassion to their families and fellow man.

While it might seem like a daunting task you can show your overly-connected offspring that there is a world, often a hurting world, outside of their electronic devices and social media pages. There are some simple things you can do to create more compassionate kids.

1. Teach them to share what they have
Because many of us are living more comfortable lifestyles than perhaps we grew up with, the tendency to give your child more than you had is great. But, over-indulging can not only create behavior problems, it can also make your child feel as if they deserve all of the things they want.

Take a tour of your child's room and point out the toys and books they no longer play with or read. Encourage them  to gather these items and give them to needy children in the community.

Organizations like the Salvation Army and Goodwill are always looking for donations. And during the holiday season, many organizations are looking for gently used toys for holiday toy drives.

2. Help them execute random acts of kindness
Helping your child carry out random acts of kindness will help them have a positive attitude toward others who are in need, and to see when someone may need an emotional boost. There are so many ways to do this, and children can help you come up with ideas to bless their friends and neighbors.

Here is a list of 52 ways to perform random acts of kindness. They include everything from delivering a basket of goodies to an assisted living facility to buying donuts for city workers to leaving a kid-made joke book in the waiting room of a hospital or doctor's office.

3. Teach them to show kindness to their family members
Sometimes it can be easier for children to show kindness to strangers than to their own siblings or family members. Explain to your child how much their words and actions can affect those around us by reading books like How Full Is Your Bucket? For Kids, by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer. It uses an imaginary bucket to illustrate how good we feel when our "bucket" is full and how bad someone might feel when their "bucket" is empty.

4. Teach them to be thankful for what they have
Along with donating unused items to needy families, it is also a good idea to have children vocalize how grateful they are for the things they have and the family who loves them. You can start the conversation by asking them what they are thankful for every night at the dinner table. That will help them see the good in every situation. Bedtime is also a good time to discuss thankfulness. Remembering how blessed they are before they head off to sleep will give them a sense of comfort.

5. Lead by example
Children are watching and imitating what they see at home. If you want your child to be compassionate, then you must also demonstrate this behavior. Let them see you going out of your way to show kindness to those around you. Return a stranger's shopping cart, pay for someone's groceries and be generous with compliments.

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