According to Kelly Palmatier, founder of the website Compassionate Kids, setting an example for your child by participating in volunteering and empathy-building activities side-by-side with him is an effective way to teach your little one. By seeking out activities that appeal to his interests and abilities while also providing hands-on experience, you can teach your child valuable life lessons about compassion.
Compassion for the Earth
Palmatier suggests finding opportunities to involve your family in community cleanup days. Check with your city's Chamber of Commerce or visit the website Keep America Beautiful and search for ways your family can be involved in events that promote recycling, encourage planting of new trees and flowers or beautifying parks. Teach your child about reusing materials at home to help take care of the environment by creating and tending to your own compost pile.
Compassion for the Elderly
Call the activities director of a nursing home to inquire about scheduling a time for your little one to accompany you on a visit. According to the Legacy Project, an ongoing series of visits to nursing home residents allows your child and the elderly residents to effectively develop a connection. Your child might wish to bring along a picture or gift for the residents he visits or a game to play with them. Your child might initially be shy, but set the tone by making conversation and helping to build up his level of comfort and confidence as he observes you interacting with the residents.
Compassion for Animals
According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, you can encourage empathy in your child by volunteering together at an animal shelter. Some shelters are in search of foster families to care for animals who need a temporary break from the animal shelter. Your little one might also enjoy spending volunteer hours on site, providing shelter animals with love and care by taking them for walks or petting and cuddling them.
Compassion for the Needy
According to Compassion International, an advocacy ministry for children in poverty, 3 billion people live on less than $2 a day. The ministry suggests taking the Two Dollar Dinner Challenge by taking your child and $2 to the grocery store to buy a meal to serve your family for dinner. After your family enjoys dinner together, discuss the meal with your child. Did he have difficulty finding items that were less than $2? Does he think the meal met his nutritional needs? Does he feel full?