by Marsha Rakestraw
We want our children to be kind and to grow up as caring adults.
According to a survey, more than 96% of parents say that moral character is “very important, if not essential.”
But how often does that happen, especially when 81% of children surveyed think that happiness or achievement is their parents’ top priority, and only 20% of kids say “caring for others” is their top priority?
Like with many parts of our lives, the gap between our values and our actions is much larger than we’d like.
And like with many parts of our lives, one of the most powerful actions we can take to raise kind kids is to model our message.
Making Caring Common, a project of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, offers five strategies for helping your kids become more caring.
1. Make caring for others a priority.
2. Provide opportunities for children to practice caring and gratitude.
3. Expand your child’s circle of concern.
4. Be a strong moral role model and mentor.
5. Guide children in managing destructive feelings.
While the tips focus on helping children show caring for those people more directly around them, it’s important that we also cultivate in our kids caring for people around the world, as well as for nonhuman animals and the environment.
For more tips about nurturing compassionate, check out IHE president Zoe Weil’s book Above All, Be Kind: Raising a Humane Child in Challenging Times.