Thanksgiving is a time of year when we all need to take a moment to reflect on life’s blessings and give thanks. It’s also an ideal time to talk with your children about helping those less fortunate as well as the importance of caring for others in our world.
According to Beverly Anderson, Executive Director of Ebenezer Child Care Centers with locations on Milwaukee’s southside and in downtown Milwaukee, Oak Creek, and Wauwatosa, “Children are born with different capacities for empathy, but by nurturing this important character trait, parents can certainly help their children develop this wonderful virtue.”
“By serving as positive role models for their children, parents can help them understand and develop a sense of empathy in themselves. If parents take time to help others and have a caring heart, their children are bound to as well.”
Anderson says that there are several things you can do in your home, your neighborhood, and your community to help teach your children how to care.
According to Anderson, “Children need to know that they are loved and cared for in order to thrive and be able to care for others. Your actions will speak louder than your words. If you are always looking out for yourself, your children will learn to do this as well.”
She also recommends that you are always aware of your children’s emotions and make sure you are showing them empathy when they are frustrated, tired, or feeling down.
“Children who receive reassurance from their parents develop an attachment to them and confidence in themselves. Because they feel loved, they are able to thrive.”
In Your Neighborhood
Anderson suggests that when a new family moves into your neighborhood, you and your children bake them a treat, and then go over as a family to introduce yourselves. This teaches your children how to be not only caring individuals but also good neighbors.
Another great idea is to have your family help someone in your neighborhood who is elderly, injured, or handicapped and needs some assistance with lawn care or household projects.
“Taking the time to do a few random acts of kindness with your children goes a long way in leaving a lasting impression about how good it feels to care for and help others,” says Anderson.
In Your Community
Anderson suggests that families identify one local nonprofit organization that helps those less fortunate to support each year. This could include a homeless shelter, an elderly care facility, or a local food bank. Then, as a family, make it a goal to do something positive for this organization each season.
“Donate the clothes and toys you’ve outgrown, bake treats for the people from this organization, or stop by to visit with these people to show your children first-hand how lucky they are to live the life your family leads. It will be a rewarding experience for your entire family which will instill a real sense of caring in your children for years to come.”
Every Ebenezer Child Care Center focuses on all aspects of a child’s development: cognitive, physical, emotional, and social. In addition to providing quality care, the agency also offers other educational programming all aimed at helping parents.
The agency has locations on Milwaukee’s southside and in downtown Milwaukee, Oak Creek, and Wauwatosa. The agency’s main office is located at 1496 South 29th Street, Milwaukee. For more information, please call 414-643-5070 or visit the agency’s website at www.ebenezerchildcare.com.