We implore our kids to study hard, to get good grades – and we spend considerable time and money to assure they're enjoying their lives. But we don't talk nearly as much about what caring and compassion mean to us – or help them strengthen those empathy muscles by performing acts of kindness and service with them. Luckily, with a few simple changes, your family can help make this school year one that is focused not just on academics, but also on concern for others.
Children as young as four feel better when they receive a sincere apology from a playmate after being hurt. The key word: sincere. Coercing children into offering apologies fails to comfort the victim -- and the wrongdoer learns little more than how to feign remorse. Here are a few tips for getting beyond the begrudging "I'm sorry." This approach can cultivate empathy, help children learn to manage emotions, and improve behavior.
Think of all the ways our homes reflect consumer culture: overflowing toy boxes, jam-packed drawers, gadget-filled garages. Unfortunately, too much focus on material possessions damages our well-being – and that of our children. … The message being delivered to our kids is that consumer goods bring happiness. As parents, we have the power to counter and control this. Here's how…
With each dire news story about the planet's future, that topic may seem too scary or complicated to discuss. Still, most parents think it's important to inform their children about this critical issue. Even if want to shield them, we're aware they're likely to hear about it from other (possibly less reliable) sources. So how do we help kids understand the science – and become empowered to make a difference – while making sure they feel safe and secure? Below are five action steps to get you started.
Studies show that volunteering leads to greater life satisfaction; performing acts of kindness makes people happier and more socially comfortable; and helping others boosts daily well-being. If your child tends to be anxious, you can't make it magically go away, but you can offer tools to manage their discomfort, and strategies to help them cope.
Although children - like adults - instinctively sort the world into "like me" and "not like me" groups, it is possible to expand their understanding of who is in their "like me" circles and to build respect and appreciation for those who are in their "unlike me" circles.
We want to remind you of some DGT initiatives we were particularly proud to launch -- and that will surely gather steam in the coming year. From additional big-hearted resources to our new Just Be Kind program to our new Festival of Giving event, DGT continued to bring kindness and giving to life in 2018.
Most of us wish for a kinder world. At Doing Good Together™, we believe that this begins with children. We believe that raising children to care about others and the common good is an imperative -- and the most likely way to heal our planet in the years to come. With this in mind, we offer a few tips to satisfy everyone's wishes for happier children, more connected families, and a better world.
If all the toy ads, over-the-top decorations (starting in October!), and incessant credit card use are bringing on the holiday blues, try creating some new holiday memories that are fueled by compassion, not commercialism. These simple traditions will not only let you share important values with your children, they will also lift your spirits. It's guaranteed: your kids will treasure these memories long after their once-coveted toys are broken or forgotten.
Offering children an allowance provides the opportunity to have ongoing conversations about important financial literacy skills. And that's critical. According to researchers, three out of four young people cannot answer basic financial questions. In addition, dealing with small amounts of money when they're young allows children to make mistakes and learn from them, before poor financial decisions have serious consequences
If our democracy is to thrive, we must teach children the skills they need for critical reflection and thoughtful civic engagement. Research tells us that people who have been educated in civics are more likely to vote and be involved in public life. Here are five easy, hands-on ways to help kids begin to see how they can help create the world they want to live in.
Myths and stereotypes about groups of people can be enormously damaging — both to individuals and to society. They can make us wary of others, and cause us to make inaccurate and destructive judgments about people's capabilities. If we are stereotyped, it can undermine our belief in ourselves. Here are a few of those damaging (and erroneous) assumptions -- with tips on how to provide children with a counter narrative.
We don't want our children to start seeing the world as divided into "givers" and "receivers." To avoid this, remind your children that everyone needs help at times, that all of us have something to offer others – and that the world is simply a better place when we help one another out. These tips can help you raise kind, giving children while avoiding the sense of "rescuing" that can be an unintended consequence of serving others.
Play is a critical way to acquire knowledge, build imagination, enhance mental and physical health, and practice social skills. Just as important, research indicates that play can help children develop empathy and compassion.
To praise or not to praise? I wouldn't blame parents for being confused. We've been getting lots of messages about praising children, many of them seemingly contradictory. If you don't praise your kids, they'll lack self-esteem!
Studies suggest that curious personalities are associated with humor, playfulness, life satisfaction, good relationships and open-mindedness. Not surprisingly, curiosity also encourages life-long learning. (Some studies even indicate that curiosity, along with hard work, might be as important as intelligence to academic performance.) Another reason to encourage curiosity is that it's deeply intertwined with kindness and empathy. Here are ways to nurture curiosity in your children while teaching them compassion at the same time.
All parents want their children to be happy. But too often we misdirect our energies as we try to ensure our children will lead blissful, fulfilled lives. Despite a spate of recent research, it's still not clear what "happiness" is, much less how to guarantee it for ourselves or our kids. Here's what you should and shouldn't do to raise a contented kid.
Of course good manners matter. However, kindness goes much deeper – and is ultimately more significant – than things like writing thank-you notes or keeping elbows off the table.
Kindness and courage are common topics in this newsletter, but failure deserves attention, too. I agree with researchers that accepting failure can lead to growth. And when parents view failure as an opportunity to be embraced rather than something to be avoided, kids will be more willing to take on new challenges and will develop the strength to cope. Here are strategies for helping you and your kids meet any disappointments that come your way.