Empathy is about connecting, understanding, and feeling what another person is experiencing. Placing yourself in someone else's shoes. When we raise empathetic children we prepare them to navigate challenges they will inevitably face in life.
Research shows that children are smarter, nicer, happier, and more resilient when they are schooled in feelings. Reading body language and non-verbal cues allows children to feel more successful in the classroom, on the playing field, at home, and throughout transitioning to high school and beyond.
How do we teach and foster empathy?
- Talk about emotions. Point out feelings you or they have, ask questions about TV or movie characters, read books, and talk about the characters’ emotions.
- Encourage empathy. Promote kindness via social media and online communication.
- Allow them to feel and talk about their feelings. All feelings are allowed although some behaviors are not.
- Discuss family values and integrity.