The best thing you can do to make the world a better place is to create a culture of kindness at home. Consider these ways to show your kids why the Golden Rule works. Even before your children are old enough to be kind, you can start talking about it. Empathy is hardwired into us from birth through what is known as the mirror neuron system, and we intuitively feel what others feel, explains psychiatrist Kelly Harding, MD, author of The Rabbit Effect: Live Longer, Happier, and Healthier with Groundbreaking Science about life”.
Kindness. That’s why your 2-year-old may cry when he sees another toddler fall on the playground, and this is the perfect opportunity to articulate the experience for him: “You’re sad because you’re worried about your friend and she hurt herself.” If empathy is understanding, then compassion is acting on that understanding.
The ability to do this in children develops somewhat later. “As a child’s brain develops, it can better separate you from yourself, and that’s when compassion is formed,” says Dr. Harding. “Toddlers are very focused on me and mine, but you can gradually help your child think about us and us by using inclusive we-language on their own,” says developmental pediatrician Damon Korb, MD. For example, you can say: “What can we do?” Will it be fun for all of us today?” “