Cultivate Empathy in Your Children Through Service to the Community

By Kelly Martin, M.Ed, LPC
Guest Contributor

Checkout the latest post from our contributor, Kelly Martin… owner of The Playroom Lubbock. She shares great insight into how we can extend the season of giving by creating a positive impact on our community and, perhaps more importantly, within our children and family year-round.  Perfect timing with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service coming up January 18, 2016. See Kelly’s link below for her Local and Global Outreach idea list… perfect for Lubbock area families… or contact the Volunteer Center Of Lubbock for more ideas.
Happy New Year!

Cultivate Empathy in Your Children Through Service to the Community

Throw kindness like confetti

“Throw kindness around like confetti.”

As we ring in and celebrate the New Year, let us think of ways to throw kindness around like confetti all year long. We want to teach our kids to think beyond themselves and their own needs. “It’s not enough to count our blessings and be thankful. Thankfulness should move us to action.” (Marla Kiley).

This action for service to others, fueled by thankfulness and encouraged by parents, will cultivate empathy in your children. When children have empathy, they model appreciation for many types of people, value others’ perspectives, build better relationships, and become better collaborators.

We want this to serve as a guide and a jumpstart for you to engage your families in acts of service in our community. When we express caring for others as a priority and follow through with service, our children will begin to believe our value and commitment.

What you want to instill:

You can serve right where you are.

You can serve the world from home.

Serve with your gifts (strengths/talents).

Serve to serve, not serve for praise.

Tips to Serving with Your Kids:

1. Prepare Your Kids.

Who we are serving?

 What will we be doing?

 Why does that help someone?

 What can we expect?

2. Practice What to Say/Do.

3. Make it Doable.

 Short, simple, fun

 If you try to plan too often, or too much, you’ll feel overwhelmed before you even start.

4. Reflect after the experience.

 Is it what you expected?

 How did it help?

 How did you feel?

 How did the other person possibly feel?

 What could we do different/same next time?

5. Recognize your child’s effort.

Specifically reflect back to your child what you saw him/her do.

 This encourages self-awareness and self-confidence.

If you are interested in organizations around our Lubbock community in which to serve with your family, please visit The Playroom Lubbock website where you’ll find our list of Lubbock Service Projects for your Family.

Kiley, Marla. “What is Service,” Discovery Years, December 2006.

Kelly Martin is a Licensed Professional Counselor, parent, and owner of The Playroom Lubbock offering therapy counseling services specifically for children and adolescents.  From individual and group Play Therapy to yoga and parent-included classes, Kelly and her team offer a wealth of support for local kiddos and parents.  Specialties include divorce care, self esteem, social skills, anxiety, grief, anger management, ADHD support… topics that hit home with many area kids and families.  Have questions or ideas for future blog topics?  Just comment below or you can contact Kelly directly at and through her website at

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