Last week, I wrote about Penny Lane, a 6-year-old from Clarks Green who draws pictures of koalas to help the animal rescue efforts in Australia. When Penny learned about the devastating bushfires that have ravaged the country since the fall, she felt like she needed to do something. She picked up her crayons and started drawing pictures of koalas, giving her artwork to anyone who donated $5 or more.

I heard from Penny’s mom, Katie, this morning. Penny has helped raise more than $1,000 for rescue efforts and has produced more than 50 drawings of koalas to give to donors. Her 5-year-old sister, Lucy, has helped color the pictures, too.

Penny’s efforts got me thinking. How can I encourage my own daughters to want to help the world around them?

Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education offers some tips on how to raise caring kids:

  • Work to develop caring, loving relationships with your kids.
  • Be a strong moral role model and mentor.
  • Make caring for others a priority and set high ethical expectations.
  • Provide opportunities for children to practice caring and gratitude.
  • Expand your child’s circle of concern.
  • Promote children’s ability to be ethical thinkers and positive change-makers in their communities.
  • Help children develop self-control and manage feelings effectively.

Harvard also offers a great handout with those tips (and what to try) that could be distributed at your next school event or PTA meeting. I’m going to start trying some of those tips today.