Eight Marvelous Ways To Develop Compassion in Children

Many a times we are reminded of the famous Golden Rule "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." This pretty much sums up what compassion is all about. It is that virtue that makes you put yourself into the shoes of others and consider their needs first before taking any action. It is simply being human; being able to understand the sufferings of other people and trying to make a positive change into their lives. Dalai Lama often emphasizes on the importance of teaching children the art of compassion from a tender age. A well-developed compassion helps children (and adults) succeed in personal relationships, effective communication, problem-solving, stress relief, and self discipline.  Therefore, compassion is an admirable and vital habit for parents to instill in our children.

Here are Eight Marvelous Ways To Develop Compassion In Children.


It is only fair for you to act the way you would want your child to. Remember children always look up to their parents. Your behavior will model your child's behavior. Show compassion to others and most importantly of all, show compassion to your child. This is the most significant way he or she will get to acknowledge the importance of this wonderful virtue.

You can engage in acts of compassion by doing selfless acts such as:

  • Visiting the sick, needy and homeless.
  • Sponsoring a less privileged child.
  • Volunteering
  • Taking care of a sick relative or close friend
  • Standing up for a cause such as anti-bullying

Teach your child what compassion is right from the definition to how it is expressed. Use practical examples when doing so. You can refer to great leaders who were so compassionate such as Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther. Read to them stories about how these great leaders changed the world with their acts of compassion. Identify a child in their school who is always made fun of because of his weight or some other reason. Teach them that the right thing to do in such a scenario is show compassion, even if it is not the popular thing to do.


The first act of compassion a child can ever do is care for a pet. Him or her caring for another life will help them be mature and build on their empathy. Not only does a pet teach your child imperative lessons in responsibility, but seeing joy, pain, fear, and love in the arms of some small, cute, furry friend always elicits compassion and love from our children. This is essential to succeed in positive, healthy relationships.


Try as much as possible to reduce your child's exposure to violence, be it physical, verbal, or artistic. The more a child is around vulgar, non-compassionate role modeling and expression, the more likely a child will absorb this as an acceptable, desirable reaction to life. Research has it that children exposed to violence tend to be more aggressive in nature. Discourage them at all costs from watching movies and playing video games that may portray the vice.


Compassion involves listening to other people keenly with your ears, eyes, mind and heart. Attention has to be paid. Without listening, your child will not be able to put himself in the shoes of others. Be a good listener to your child first. This a crucial and influential way to ensure that he or she will grow up to be a good listener.


Expose your child to different cultures and races. Make him or her learn how to live with other people who may appear different. Having a wider perspective on what is good, bad, beautiful, right, wrong, and normal will help your child foster a greater understanding of compassion towards himself and the world.


Enjoy a game of soccer without keeping score. Do this with the aim of making your child aware that being number one may not be all that matters. Coming together and working towards one goal is what really matters. This is one way of making them cooperative, and thus further enhancing their compassion.


There are books available that have stories illustrating different compassionate acts such as "Ant Bully," which also turned out to be a great movie. One of my personal all-time favorite books teaching compassion is "Bagels For Benny" by Aubrey Davis. These stories will make the learning process interesting and give the child an easier time grasping the whole concept and preciousness of compassion.

  1. Find a book or movie in which the central character acts out of compassion. Read or watch it together, and when there is a quiet moment, discuss the story with your child. 
  2. Tell your child the story of someone in the news, in your family, or from your past who was in pain. Ask your child how he thinks that person felt and invite him to find compassion for others. 
  3. The next time your child approaches you with an emotional or physical pain, stop all that you are doing and give you child 100% attention full of compassion. Watch his face and see what compassion can do to the human spirit.

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SMC was created by Gabi, MA in Psychology, International Parenting Expert and Family Therapist. Gabi's research into raising successful modern children has taken her around the world. She has taught and inspired groups in Israel, USA, Panama, Peru, and Cambodia. Gabi guides parents to their fullest light around the globe in group teleconference and live workshops. Gabi also takes a very limited number of one-on-one clients for transformational parenting, family, life, and trauma therapy. You may reach Gabi directly at

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