Tolerance and compassion are essential values you should instill in your child at a young age. When you emphasize the importance of these principles from the start, they are more likely to mature into adults who are open-minded, respectful of others, and able to socialize and work well with people from different ethnic, cultural, and religious backgrounds.
Imagine the possibilities that will open up for your child if they learn to accept others for who they are and not how they look, speak, dress, or conduct themselves. Besides increasing their chances of succeeding professionally, your child will be more likely to build stronger and more positive relationships, experience happiness, and become more adaptable—a necessity in an ever-changing world.
If you are looking for ways to teach compassion and tolerance to your little one, read on. From modeling specific virtues to exposing your child to a diversity of human experiences, here are five doable strategies to help your kid become compassionate and tolerant toward others.
Walk The Talk
No matter how much you explain to your kids the importance of being kind and of respecting other people, your words will most likely fall on deaf ears unless you practice what you preach. If you want to teach compassion and tolerance, show your kids that you practice these traits yourself.
Treat people from all walks of life with kindness and respect at all times. Think twice before commenting about someone’s ethnicity, gender, religion, and circumstances to ensure you are not stereotyping or exhibiting prejudice yourself. More importantly, treat your child with compassion and respect so that they themselves could better understand these concepts. Whether you realize it or not, your child is watching and learning from what you say and do.
Expose Your Child To People From Other Backgrounds
One of the most effective ways to help your child develop kindness and acceptance of other people is to provide them with the opportunities to know and connect with those from backgrounds that differ from their own. If they are still very young, consider enrolling them in an international school with an early learning village program. After all, such schools cater to learners from all parts of the world and provide the perfect backdrop for a learning experience that exposes children to a diversity of experiences.
Encouraging your child to play, talk, and socialize with kids from other backgrounds will help them to learn how to relate to all types of people and to embrace their differences. They are likely to naturally develop respect and empathy for people outside of their immediate circle of family and friends.
Aside from learning compassion and tolerance, your child will also be able to develop global awareness. They will recognize, understand, and accept that the world is composed of different individuals who should work together and not against each other.
Make Use Of Children’s Books
Do you like reading to your child? If so, you can also use this time to teach valuable lessons on compassion and tolerance. Reading children’s books containing stories about kindness, sympathy, and respecting people can help your little one understand these values better. Opt for books with interesting pictures and characters to captivate your child’s curiosity and attention. We’re All Wonders, The Big Umbrella, and The Same But Different Too are just some of the tiles you may want to consider. Besides reading books, you can also watch animated content, movies, or television shows, such as Sesame Street and Barney and Friends, to introduce and instill essential values.
Do Volunteer Work With Your Kids
Volunteering at a homeless shelter, orphanage, or children’s hospital—or doing similar work with your child is another effective way to help them learn the values of compassion and respect. When your child spends time with people from different backgrounds and becomes aware of the struggles of others, they are likely to become more grateful of their own circumstances while understanding the need to help other people—regardless of their race, religion, or social status.
Make sure to supplement these experiences with explanations and meaningful discussions about the importance of being kind and helping everyone. You can also encourage your child to connect with fellow volunteers and to make friends with children in need to teach them about the beauty of inclusion and charity. It is worth noting, however, that doing volunteer work with your kids does more than teaching them how to be good citizens. Volunteering will also open their eyes to the realities of life, and while this can certainly come with feelings of sadness, this can also give them a sense of purpose while boosting their emotional and mental well-being.
Correct Misbehavior And Praise Good Ones
Imparting good values also means letting your child know how much it matters to you that they treat people with kindness and respect. If you hear them say something cruel or offensive to another child, call their attention immediately and explain why the action should not be repeated. Be gentle yet firm, and focus on the misbehavior instead of the doer. For instance, instead of saying, “You are mean! Who do you think you are?” you can say something like “What you said was mean. How would you feel if someone were to say the same thing to you?”
Besides correcting misbehavior, it is equally important to praise acts of compassion and tolerance to motivate children. When you see your child being exceptionally kind or considerate, let them know you are proud of them. That said, also be wary of overpraising because your child may learn to practice good behavior solely for the positive attention or to get rewards.
Helping your child develop the values of compassion and tolerance requires time, effort, and consistency—especially on your end. Remember, you are the most powerful influencer in your little one’s life. While books, environment, and educational resources can help facilitate learning, your actions, words, and behavior matter most at this point in their life. Your child is constantly observing and copying what you are doing, so be consistent and mindful of how you speak and deal with other people.