Putting Yourself in Another Shoe: Five Easy Ways to Cultivate Empathy in Your Little Ones
“Empathy is about standing in someone else’s shoes, feeling with his or her heart, seeing with his or her eyes. Not only is empathy hard to outsource and automate, but it makes the world a better place.” —Daniel H. Pink
As defined by PyschCentral, empathy is the ability to understand and feel what another person is experiencing. Empathy is an essential component of building relationships. Hence, it is important for children to develop empathy. As parents, how do we cultivate empathy in our little angels? Little Believer’s Academy, a Daycare Center in North Carolina, points out some ways to go about it. Check them out!
- Assure your tot that you will always be there for them. Pain brings an unpleasant feeling. The same holds true when we feel the pain of others. We cannot blame them if their first reaction is to shun away from it. However, studies suggest that children are more likely to overcome this first reaction when they feel secure. This simply means that they know they can count on their parents for emotional and physical support.
- Teach them about emotions. You cannot expect your little ones to empathize with other people if they do not even know how to explain their own emotions. Ask your children from time to time about how they feel. If they encounter any difficulties to explain, try helping them figure what it is.
- Be a good role model. Your children look up to you. They follow everything you do. If they see you being rude to others, they will also mimic it. So instead of being angry at the waiter who brought you the wrong meal, just smile and say that you understand. Also, instead of telling your little ones, “Don’t be stupid like that waiter,” tell them, “How do you think it would feel to be that busy?”
- Teach your youngsters to prioritize caring and compassion. Help your kiddos understand that the world does not always revolve around them or their needs. You can talk to them about homeless children. How sad it is to have no home to go to. This will encourage them to show care and compassion to other people.
- Engage them in activities that teach about empathy. There are actually many activities that will help your little ones understand the importance of empathy. You can even make up one. An activity we can think of is The Golden Rule game. Explain to your tots the golden rule, “Do to others as you would want them to do to you.” Open up about what you do not want others to do or say to you and ask them the same.
At Little Believer’s Academy, we believe that character also matters. That is why our programs are not only limited to enhance our children’s intellect, but we also help them build the right characters. We have a Daycare Center in Garner, NC. For inquiries, call 919-720-4773.
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