Empathy is defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. It can be considered one of the most important characteristics of social behavior and is something that should be taught early on in childhood.
Let’s look at the importance of, and how we can teach our children, empathy.
Why Empathy Matters
The ability to reciprocate feelings is an important social and emotional skill for everyone to learn.
For parents, empathy can be a highly effective child development tool. Having empathy can help to maintain an emotionally positive environment in the household, which keeps the family attitude positive and makes development easier for children. Being empathetic with your children also helps them learn to love and trust you more deeply, allowing for better communication.
For children, the benefits of empathy will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Practicing empathy helps children become more aware of their own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. Not only does this help children control their own emotions more effectively, it also assists in creating and maintaining healthy relationships.
Empathy is an emotional and social skill that children should begin practicing as early as possible, so parents should begin teaching it from day one.
Empathy in 3 Steps
In order to teach empathy, you must first be empathetic with your children. Follow these three steps when interacting with your children to practice empathy:
1. Recognition: Take a moment to recognize what your child is feeling. This initial emotional connection with your child shows them that you’re on their side, not against them.
2. Definition: Find out where the emotion is coming from by starting a dialogue with your child. This will let your child know that you are ready to listen to their feelings and that you understand them.
3. Solution: Offer a solution with your child’s emotional well-being in mind. If something must be done to improve your child’s feeling, give suggestions and ask if your child would be willing to do them.
At this point your child will be more open to changing behavior if necessary, because you have established your intentions to help and understand them using empathy.
Practicing at Home
Practice makes perfect when it comes to empathy. At home, it is important to lead by example. Be empathetic in any scenario that applies. If your child is excited, ask them why and decide if praise or celebration is in order. If your child is sad, be open to talking about it and offer solutions to make them feel better. It’s all about communicating with your child frequently.
Talking and listening to your child, and being empathetic with them, can greatly help their emotional and social growth. Following the three steps of practicing empathy, and teaching them to your child, can make a world of difference in the long run.
How Carpe Diem Teaches Empathy
At Carpe Diem Private Preschool, we understand that children meet their full academic potential when they feel comfortable and respected. We pride ourselves on having caring, trained teachers who take the time to learn each child’s name and make each student feel special when they come to class. Our teachers lead by example and demonstrate empathy every day by how they interact with our students.