Teaching children to love others is a parental responsibility. While children may feel love toward others, they aren’t always sure how to express it. Parents can effectively teach their children to love others by helping them to find appropriate ways to express their care and concern. When they do, their children will have a better understanding of what loving others really means.
Children learn by doing. Teach your child to love others by providing opportunities to put love into action. Make a card for a sick friend; bring cookies to an elderly neighbor, volunteer at a local soup kitchen, or donate gently used clothing and toys to a local shelter.
Children learn what they live, so be sure to let your child see you loving others. Let your child see you being kind to your spouse, hear you calling a friend out of concern and experience you showing compassion to others. Show your child affection and tell her you love her often.
Visit your local library and look for age appropriate books that talk about love, care and compassion. Read the stories and point out how the characters expressed their love. Ask your child open ended questions like, “How did the character feel when she felt loved?”
Care and compassion are a part of love. When we feel care and compassion toward others, the appropriate response is to show it. Talk about ways you can show care and compassion with your child. These may include offering a kind word to a sad friend, helping someone in need, or doing something for someone that they cannot do for themselves.
Role playing can be an effective way to teach children new concepts. To role play how to love others, set up a situation and act it out with your child. For example, pretend that one of her stuffed toys is not feeling well. Ask her what she could do to help her toy feel better. Coach her to express her love in different ways. Perhaps she could get her toy a blanket, offer him a drink or give him a hug to show him her love.
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