How to Teach Your Child Empathy
When you’re raising a kid, it’s extremely necessary for you to teach them how to empathise with others. Empathy allows them to be sensitive to other people’s feelings and show kindness to everyone around them.
It might be easier for some kids to show empathy than others. Kids who’ve been taught empathy find it a lot easier to deal with conflicts in a healthy way. They’re also more willing to help other kids out when they’re being bullied and take a stand against unfair behaviour in the playground.
Here are some tips that will show you how to build empathy in a child.
⦁ Show Empathy to Them
You can’t expect your kid to learn how to empathise if you’re not a good role model to them. Kids learn a lot of behaviours from their parents and what goes on around them. You need to tune into your kid’s emotional needs and express interest in their lives so that they can do the same for others.
Try to actively listen to what your kids are saying when they’re talking to you, ask them about their feelings, and share your own feelings with them so they can learn that other people’s needs are.
The next time your child’s throwing a tantrum, instead of reacting to them or ignoring them, you need to remain calm and try to talk them through it. Show empathy to strangers as well so that your kids can pick up on your behaviour and learn to do the same.
⦁ Discuss What Everyone’s Feeling after Conflicts
Your child may get into fights with their older siblings and start hitting them. Instead of just telling your older kid to act more responsibly, you need to teach your little one how to channel their feelings in a more acceptable way.
After the conflict, you need to get everyone in the same room and discuss what they were feeling. Encourage the child who initiated the fight to express their feelings and show them that you understand where they’re coming from, but lashing out is never the answer.
Tell them that it’s okay to feel upset and angry and it’s better to talk it out or get help from an adult the next time they feel helpless in a situation.
⦁ Read and Watch TV Together
Make a habit of reading storybooks and watching cartoons with them. Point out non-verbal cues and help them identify how the characters are feeling. Ask them questions along the way to make sure they’re on the same page as you and they can empathise with the characters.
When you’re reading a book to them, take your time through each scene and help them recognise common human emotions. This way, they can sense when other people are going through a difficult time and act in a helpful way.
These were just a few tips to teach empathy to your child and show them how to respect other people’s feelings. Create an environment of empathy at home so it’s a lot easier for your kids to cultivate this skill and be mindful of others.
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