I try to live by the motto “think globally but act locally.” In other words, I want to know what’s going on in my neighborhood, I want to get to know my neighbors and I certainly want to be available to help whenever they need me. I don’t want to be that person who had their door shut at all times or someone who isn’t there to help or turn off a neighbor’s water sprinklers when they are on vacation. I want to be a neighbor that can be counted on.
By doing so, hopefully my children will see just how important it is to give someone a helping hand when they need it because you truly, genuinely care.
Plus, you don’t need a study to tell you that caring leads to more happiness and fulfillment in life. Emotional connections with others make us more fulfilled and help us lead more complete lives. Shutting out this possibility may eliminate risk of being hurt, but it is also eliminating the possibility of finding happiness with another.
In other words, caring is important and it’s a key character trait that shouldn’t go unnoticed. That’s why it’s important to teach your child to be a caring, compassionate person.
Here are 9 ways you can teach your children how to care
1. Make Caring a Priority
Parents tend to prioritize their children’s happiness and achievements over their children’s concern for others. Children need to hear from parents that caring for others is a top priority. A big part of that is holding children to high ethical expectations, such as honoring their commitments, even if it makes them unhappy. Hey, no one said this part would be easy.
First and foremost, label the feeling. Then encourage your child to talk about the feeling and better yet, praise their empathetic behavior. A sense of self-awareness and the ability to distinguish one’s own feelings from the feelings of others while understanding another person’s perspective is key.
3. The Art of the Thank You Note
I tell my children that I don’t care if they get 2 presents for their birthday or 20, everyone gets a thank you note and that they must write it. I tell them that the person who gave the gift and showed up at their birthday party made an effort to do so and that’s why they should do the same in return. It’s a simple sign of respect. If we do not express gratitude, our relationship might change because we show we don’t care about the other person.