Wendy Hinrichs Sanders, in an article that forms the basis for an Out of the Box Training Kit, "Cultivating Compassionate Classrooms," urges educators to help support children's expression of their own innate compassion. She writes:
"Empower children to respond with compassion. When we walk alongside children and build upon their ideas, we can help them with incidental, day-to-day acts of compassion and special projects. Children want to contribute. In my research they spoke of helping, giving comfort, and praying for those in need.”
An article on the Greater Good magazine website discusses the ways children can be supported in their compassion in this time of pandemic:
“Even though children are inclined to help, it can be hard for them to know exactly what they can do. Children can start with small acts of compassion as a family— sending kind thoughts to essential workers...helping gather canned goods for the local food pantry.”
But here’s an interesting caution: “Research suggests that small differences in language matter when we’re encouraging our kids to help. Parents can nurture young children’s motivation by inviting them to ‘be a helper’ can instill in them a compassionate self-identity. But there’s a catch: When tasks are too difficult and children experience a setback, those who were asked to ‘be a helper’ are less likely to try to help again compared to children who were simply asked ‘to help.’ So, in circumstances when children might not succeed at helping with something, it’s better to just ask them ‘to help.’”
Source: “How the Pandemic Can Teach Kids About Compassion,” by Maryam Abdullah, greatergood.berkeley.edu, June 29, 2021
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Thank you for your comment and agreed!
Excellent! This practice of asking help from children is very important at all times to develop their self-esteem. But, in this pandemic it is doubly important to give them a feeling of togetherness.