Teaching Caring in the Early Childhood Setting

Image of Carrie the Caring Cat

For young children, caring means:

  • Being kind to people.
  • Showing friends and family that you care.
  • Saying please and thank you.
  • Helping people.

Teachers are an important influence on young children. The children in your class will learn by the example you set for them. If your children see you acting in a caring way, they will want to act in a caring way, too.

Infants and caring

When infants cry and you respond, you are teaching infants about caring for others. When a child coos or smiles and you coo or smile back, you are teaching the infant about caring. Holding a baby and playing with a baby are ways to be kind to her and demonstrate that you care.

If you are frustrated by a situation - perhaps a baby is crying a lot because she is getting sick - then talk to an adult rather than taking your frustration out on the child. The crying is a signal that she needs your help, and it is your job to help her. This is part of being a caring individual.

Toddlers and caring

Toddlers are very interested in their ever-expanding repertoire of movements. Toddlers are also sometimes frustrated because they want something and have trouble expressing themselves. These two characteristics may lead to two common activities: hitting and biting. Such events are perfect opportunities to teach toddlers about caring. Explain to the toddler in simple language that soft touches are better than bites or hits. Explain that we are kind to our friends and family. You may find that you are repeating yourself often, but one day, you will be surprised to notice that the toddler has become a preschooler and really was listening and knows how to act kindly toward others.

Preschoolers and caring

There are many things you can do every day to encourage preschool children to develop into caring individuals.

You can...

  • Spend a little time with each child individually every day.
  • Softly touch a child on the shoulder.
  • Get down on the child's level to talk or listen.
  • Listen to the children in your classroom.
  • Tell the children you like what they are doing.
  • Read a story to a small group of children.
  • Talk to the children in your class about all the people they care about.
  • Teach the children in your class to care about each other.
  • Talk to your children about the people they come in contact with such as the mail carrier or the grocery clerk.

Read books about kindness and caring to the children.

3/16/2005 1:12:46 AM
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