5 fun activities teach kids to think of others

In an old issue of Psychology Today, I ran across an article featuring the words of Dennis Rosen, M.D.

Sometimes children seem so self absorbed and so preoccupied with gadgets and toys, we wonder whether they are aware of, or care about, what goes on around them. We like to tell ourselves, “Something” must be wrong with this generation.

Except there isn’t. The problem lies with us, the adults, who could be challenging them to think about others, and leading them to action.

Prior to going to Haiti to volunteer at a hospital, Dr. Rosen spoke to his daughter’s second grade class about the conditions there, showing them pictures of what life is like for children just like them. Following his visit, the class collected over 7,000 vitamins for him to give out.

“The empathy and genuine interest of these seven year olds was so impressive, and yet, upon reflection, not really that surprising. To help others in need is a very basic human instinct (though one that is not always acted upon).”

5 fun activities teach kids to think of others.

Author Cat Skorupski’s ideas I’m going to use with the kids in my life this summer:

  • Surprise parents by making a favorite food for each of them and present it at the next meal.
  • Do a chore without being asked. This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s one that will resonate big-time with parents. The more annoying the chore, the better.  Make a movie of each child doing it and show their parents.
  • Raise money for a cause dear to someone’s heart. Showing that you care about something he or she cares about—enough to invest your time and energy—is a huge compliment.
  • Take a song you already know and write new words to it, making it about someone special to you! It doesn’t have to be complicated—heck, it doesn’t even have to be on-key. It’s the thought that counts! Then record it onto a phone or computer and send it to them.
  • Create a scavenger hunt. Hide affirmation notes around the house for a sibling or other relative to find. The notes could be hidden in sequence with clues that lead the hunter to the next treasure or they could just be hidden randomly.

Tweetable: Show kids how you care about others, then guide them do this directly on their own with 5 new ideas. Click to Tweet

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