Childhood Empathy: Are You Raising a Child who Cares about Others?
Empathy is a feminine noun. According to the Dictionary: “action to put yourself in someone else’s place. Seeking to act or think the way he would think or act in the same circumstances.”
The ability to put oneself in the other’s place does not depend only on genetics. Therefore, it is up to us adults to guide our children to become more empathetic human beings, collaborating for a better world.
More empathy, please!
From the beginning of life, the little ones show the ability to understand the other. However, the development of empathy in childhood must be worked on and encouraged by the family and the school from an early age.
We have already talked about the importance of early childhood to reach their best potential, and empathy is no different. It must be developed during the first years of life, a phase in which the little ones form and place themselves in the world. Check out simple tips to create your little one in a more empathetic way:
1. Be the example.
As in any other situation, the first step is the example. Children absorb everything, both positive and negative things. So, if you want your child to empathize with others, do you need to be the first one to show them how to do that. Let them see in you, your concern about others, and how you would deal with the consequences of your actions. Thus, they will assimilate that they must also always be attentive to the people around them.
2. Work on feelings
Helping the little ones deal with the various feelings that may arise is very important for becoming a more sensitive adult. Be it with games, stories, conversations, or classrooms. Being close to the child when he has to deal with any new or difficult sensation is fundamental for him to feel safe and protected to face his problems. In addition to contributing to your little one’s self-esteem, working on feelings makes them more likely to understand the feelings of others and put themselves in the other’s shoes.
3. Encourage them to live socially.
Social interaction is significant for the child to understand that the world does not revolve around him. Meeting new people with different ideas, habits, and personalities will awaken your little one’s gaze to the world around him, and, with your help, he will understand that differences exist and are not a problem.
Also, social interaction allows them to communicate and deal with adverse situations, which is very important for their development as human beings.
4. Chat, chat, and chat
Dialogue is always the best way out. Whether in good or bad times, in successes or mistakes. Talking to your little one will enable him to understand what is happening, allowing a reflection on himself and his attitudes. If he does something wrong that affects another person, explain to him the consequences of his actions, and see how his attitudes can affect other people and the best way to collaborate.
5. Tell stories!
Literature develops in us the share of humanity. It makes us more understanding and open to nature, society, the like.
Through stories, we can live and see through the eyes of other people. The characters in children’s books have a lot to teach the little ones – and even adults! When in contact with the imaginary world of literature, children can live different experiences, putting themselves and seeing themselves in the characters’ place. This helps him know and understand the different perspectives of the world, which allows him to have more empathy!
Recommended Reading- Happy Puppy, Angry Tiger
Help children understand their emotions, build empathy, and learn the words they need to express themselves.
Happy Puppy, Angry Tiger
A Little Book about Big Feelings
By Brad Petersen and Betsy Petersen
Illustrations by Betsy Petersen
A little book about BIG feelings.
Aah, the sloth is feeling relaxed. Wow! The panda is surprised. Sometimes the mouse feels sad. Every day brings a different set of emotions for us to recognize and process. Still, young children often have difficulty connecting their emotions with the words they need to describe them. Featuring animal characters associated with 24 different emotions, Happy Puppy, Angry Tiger helps toddlers develop empathy and compassion by connecting with their own emotional experiences. This book is an invaluable resource to start building emotional intelligence at an early age. Learn more here.