7 Tips for Nurturing Kindness and Empathy in Early Childhood

Young girl hugging a baby boy

Kindness and empathy are important values to instill in our children from a young age. Not only do these qualities promote positive relationships and social skills, but they also help create a more compassionate and understanding society. As parents, caregivers and educators, it is our responsibility to nurture these traits so that our little ones can contribute to and help create a kinder, more caring world.

Remember the Golden Rule

The Bible teaches us to “treat others as you would want to be treated” (Matthew 7:12). This is known as “the Golden Rule.” This simple yet powerful message serves as a foundation for teaching kindness, empathy and to children from an early age. 

There are many ways to practice this important teaching with your child at home:

  1. Simple Language: Express the Golden Rule in easy-to-understand language, using real-world examples, such as sharing toys or inviting a peer to play.
  2. Storytelling: Stories are a powerful teaching tool. Read stories that encourage sharing and empathy. Discuss the importance of these actions with your child and encourage them to share their thoughts.
  3. Lead By Example: Children learn through observation. Demonstrate positive behaviors in your own life that you would like your child to adopt.
  4. Role Play: Engage in role-playing scenarios with your little one, taking turns to react to scenarios such as sharing, giving compliments, expressing feelings, making friends, etc. This practice will help them understand how their actions impact others. 
  5. Use Positive Reinforcement: Acknowledge and praise your child when they exhibit positive behaviors. This will not only encourage the continued behavior but also provide an authentic opportunity to learn from your actions.
  6. Teach Respect for Differences: Emphasize the importance of celebrating differences. Expose your child to new cultures, perspectives and backgrounds by listening to music and viewing art or watching movies and reading stories with diverse casts and characters.
  7. Create a Kindness Chart: Establish a visual representation of acts of kindness. Whenever your child demonstrates behavior aligned with the Golden Rule, celebrate their actions with a sticker or mark on the chart.

By incorporating these strategies, you lay a foundation for your child to internalize the values encapsulated in the Golden Rule, fostering a positive and empathetic approach to relationships and interactions with others.

Discover the CDC Difference

For more than 40 years, Children’s Discovery Center has helped guide and expand the minds of Toledo’s youngest explorers. Our dedicated staff nurtures children into lifelong learners by providing an innovative environment promoting self-led discovery. Contact us today to learn more about our Reggio Emilia approach to learning, register your child and tour our facilities.