Teaching Your Child Empathy

Teaching your child empathy is one of the challenges of parenthood.

5 Easy Ways to Teach Kids Empathy

We all want our kids to develop empathy — that essential knack for understanding how another person feels and responding with kindness.

Fortunately, some simple, effective strategies can help empathy bloom as our children grow. Here are five strategies that busy parents can use:

1. Help your child describe his or her own feelings.

Kids need to be able to label their own feelings in order to understand how others feel. “Mad,” “sad,” and “happy” will probably be the starting point. From there, your child can learn words like “disappointed,” “surprised,” “excited,” “scared,” “thankful,” “left out,” and more.

2. Read books or watch TV together and discuss the characters’ feelings.

Point out facial expressions and other “body-language” clues to feelings when you look at illustrations together.

3. Discuss how different behaviors influence the feelings of others.

For example, you could say, “Grandma looked so happy when you said thank you for her gift! Did you see her big smile?”

4. Model and practice consideration for the feelings of others.

When we treat our child with empathy, we provide not only emotional nourishment but also a model of kindness that our child can imitate. We can also help our child practice empathy by saying things like, “That little girl looks lonely. Do you think you could see if she wants to play with you?” or, “Dad looks hot and tired. How about if we take him a glass of lemonade?”

5. When your child does a kind deed, comment on it. “Oh, you’re helping me clean up the juice I spilled — that’s being KIND! Thank you!”

With these small, everyday steps, you’ll gently guide your child on the road to becoming a kind, compassionate adult.

(c) Norma Schmidt, LLC (limited liability corporation)

Norma Schmidt is a parent, a parenting workshop leader and the author of way too many articles and online publications to mention here. Her latest e-book, “The Parent’s Bag of Behavior Tricks,” is ready for instant downloading at http://www.BehaviorMagic.com Get Norma’s free report, “Boost Your Child’s Money IQ: 61 Ways to Raise Wise, Responsible Money Managers,” at http://www.ParentCafeOnline.com

Additional Resources:

Baby Sleep Secrets
Get your child to sleep through the night with just a few tweak and finally get that good night sleep you both need and deserve.

Inspirational Kids’ Stories
A Collection of Children’s Bedtime Stories that nurture, inspire and educate.

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