Thanksgiving is a time of year when many people take a moment to reflect on life’s blessings and give thanks. It’s also an ideal time to talk with your children about helping those less fortunate as well as the importance of caring for others in the world.
Children are born with different capacities for empathy, but by nurturing this important character trait, parents can certainly help their children develop this virtue.
By serving as positive role models for their children, parents can help them understand and develop a sense of empathy in themselves. If parents take time to help others and have a caring heart, their children are more likely to as well.
There are several things you can do in your home, your neighborhood and your community to help teach your children how to care.
Children need to know that they are loved and cared for to thrive and be able to care for others. Your actions will speak louder than your words. If you are always looking out for yourself, your children will learn to do this as well.
Be aware of your children’s emotions and make sure you are showing them empathy when they are frustrated, tired or feeling down.
Children who receive reassurance from their parents develop an attachment to them and confidence in themselves. Because they feel loved, they are able to thrive.
In Your Neighborhood
When a new family moves into your neighborhood, you and your children could bake a treat and then go over as a family to introduce yourselves. This teaches your children how to be not only caring individuals, but also good neighbors.
Another idea is to have your family help someone in your neighborhood who is elderly, injured or handicapped and needs some assistance with lawn care or household projects.
Taking time to do a few random acts of kindness with your children goes a long way in leaving a lasting impression about how good it feels to care for and help others.
In Your Community
Identify one local nonprofit organization that helps those less fortunate to support each year as a family. This could include a homeless shelter, an elderly care facility or a local food bank. Then, as a family, make it a goal to do something positive for this organization each season.
Donate the clothes or toys you’ve outgrown, bake treats for the people served by this organization or stop by to visit to show your children firsthand how lucky they are to live the life your family leads. It will be a rewarding experience for your entire family, which will instill a sense of caring in your children for years to come.