Empathy is the basis for moral behavior, healthy interpersonal connections, selfless love, and a successful career. And it’s essential to develop this skill early because empathetic children act kinder and don’t engage in behaviors such as bullying.
The ability to see things from another person’s perspective and put oneself in their shoes is the foundation of empathy. However, it goes beyond this ability.
It also involves appreciating various viewpoints and being compassionate to other people. You can work on this with your children and make sure that they grow up to be caring, kind-hearted people. Here’s how.
1. Demonstrate empathy for your child and others
Children pick up empathy from us as well as by experiencing it firsthand. Our ability to empathize with our kids helps them feel safe and self-assured. You can practice empathy by showing that you’re aware of their emotional and physical needs, respecting and understanding their unique characters, and showing a sincere interest in their lives.
Your kids also learn from watching you and the way you treat others. If you show kindness and respect to everyone, from family members to a waiter at a restaurant, they’ll pick up on this and behave the same.
As you try to teach your child empathy, you may become aware of your own shortcomings in this respect. Try to work on understanding and accepting those who are different from you. This will be a healthy model for your child.
2. Put the focus on caring for other people
It’s natural for loving parents to dote on their children, but it’s also necessary to show them that they’re not the center of the universe. Children who don’t understand this when they’re young may grow up to be spoiled and entitled. You’ll achieve this by talking to them about the importance of compassion and reading children’s books with this message.
Make sure that you yourself are caring to family members, friends, and other people in your life. When someone is being polite and kind, draw your child’s attention to it and comment on it positively.
Teach them the importance of responsibility and togetherness by inviting them to help you with housework. Also, praise them when they’re gentle and loving to people and animals.
3. Give your child a chance to practice empathy
It’s a good idea to teach your child the pleasure of helping those in need by volunteering in your community or donating to charity. For example, encourage them to go over their clothes and toys, and then donate some of the ones they don’t need anymore. They could also participate in fun charity events, like neighborhood fundraisers.
Taking care of pets is a great way to develop empathy. They could feed, walk, or play with their pet. Children find these activities enjoyable and it’s also a fantastic learning experience for them.
4. Keep a track of how they’re doing
Observe your child when they’re around others. people. For example, while they’re playing at their favorite playground, do they give a friend a hand if they slip and fall? Do they eagerly take part in group activities and let others shine? By taking note of their behavior, you’ll get to know the areas you need to work on.
Also, talk to your child’s nanny or teacher to find out how they act when you’re not around. You’ll want to know if they’re kind and helpful to other children if they’re cooperative as part of a team, and if they’re able to resolve conflict amicably.