Cloverbud aged children often focus on themselves as they are forming their self-concept. As young Cloverbud children (5 – 6 years old) become 7- to 8-year-olds, they start to increase their awareness and concern for others; in particular, they can have empathy toward others. Empathy results from an increase in their emotional understanding skills as thinking abilities develop and through social experiences. In the 4-H Cloverbud program we can help members learn to care for others and grow their empathy skills.
Certainly, it’s a good thing to care for others and be kind, but why is empathy and caring for others important for Cloverbuds? By learning to care of others, children benefit in many ways:
- Contributes to their overall healthy development
- Builds positive relationships with other kids and adults
- Feel a sense of accomplishment
- Increase their self-esteem and confidence
- Creates a sense of belonging
As Cloverbud volunteers and advisors, how can we promote a caring attitude with our Cloverbud kids? Here are some strategies to use:
- Model caring behavior for them to see (share, offer compliments, hold a door open)
- Talk about your feelings to encourage them to do also (“I am tired from a busy day, but happy to be with you,” “I feel sad because a family member is sick.” – fosters empathy)
- Thank the children when they show care towards you and others (positive reinforcement)
- Make kindness and caring a foundation for your Cloverbud club
- Listen to children and where they are at without passing judgement
We can all make our community a better place to live. It starts with our children and the Cloverbud program is great place for kids to learn and practice caring for others and kindness.