2.13.2018

Raising Children with Strong Empathy

Empathy, in its most basic meaning, represents the extent to which we are able to notice and understand the feelings and emotions of other people. We acquire this ability during childhood and if we nurture it properly, we can become generous and highly compassionate human beings. Therefore, teaching kids how to be empathic is an essential responsibility of every parent if they want to see them become caring and supportive grown-ups. And, in order to help you achieve this, we have prepared a couple of easy-to-follow steps. Let’s take a look.

Be their emotional guide
Children need a great role model for properly acquiring almost any skill which will be valuable in their life, and empathy definitely falls under that category. First of all, being empathic requires of one to be open to experiencing the pain of others and children tend to fear these situations where they can get hurt. Therefore, you, as the parent, have to make them feel secure by fostering a safe relationship with them, filled with emotional and physical support. Finally, acknowledging your child’s negative feelings and talking about them will help them regulate their emotions better making them sympathetic towards the struggles and concerns of others.


Show them what they have in common with others
Studies have shown that children are more likely to empathise with someone who they believe is similar to them in some way. For this reason, it’s of the utmost importance that children have a chance to interact with people from different backgrounds and thus learn that seemingly completely different people can actually have a lot in common. On top of that, this approach will undermine the chances of them forming racial and other kinds of prejudices once they become grown-ups. 

Provide them with a supportive environment in an education centre

Aside from being heavily influenced by their family members, children are sensitive to other surroundings as well, so choosing an appropriate child care centre can be a crucial factor for their further development. Therefore, it’s not a surprise that the vast majority of parents in Australia have recognised the importance of early-learning programs which are provided in places like the amazing child care centre in Moorabbin. Here, children have a chance to learn and play in a safe environment surrounded by diversity and thus learn to appreciate differences and understand other children’s needs and feelings. 

Buy your child a pet

This may seem like something insignificant, but a dog or some other animal can actually do wonders for your child since it can teach them to become empathic and help them connect with other people more easily. On top of that, a pet will assist your child in becoming more responsible and consequently be less self-absorbed and egocentric. Finally, since pets are not able to express their needs through speech, your child will have to learn how to deduct what their desires are solely from observing their behaviour, and this skill will be significant for their further development. 

Teach them how to read facial expressions
Finally, since one’s feelings are always reflected through their facial expressions, it’s of the utmost importance that you teach your child how to read them properly. It’s true that this may seem hard at first since young children are not usually aware of some more complex emotions like envy and shame, but gradually they will learn how to distinguish between them. One of the most practical ways of practising this skill is by using photos of people who are expressing different emotions. And, in order to make this activity even more enjoyable, you can create a guessing game in which every correct answer is worth one point. Finally, owing to this method, not only will they learn to read other people’s emotions, but they’ll know how to properly express their own as well.
As you can see, teaching your child to be more empathic is not that hard after all. You just need to be a good role model and provide them with enough support so that they can feel secure and ready to open up to others. Finally, keep in mind that this process takes time, so be patient and show your child that you understand their feelings and needs.

About the author:

Tracey Clayton is a mom of three girls. She’s passionate about fashion, home d├ęcor and healthy living. Her motto is: “Live the life you love, love the life you live.” 

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