Thursday 13 July 2023

Helping Your Child Develop Empathy Towards Others

Empathy helps children understand what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes, which can give them confidence, better problem solving skills and more. To help children understand what empathy is, they may partake in pastoral care at school, like what’s on offer at this Private School in North London. But they may also need help and support from parents at home on how to model empathy. Here are some top tips.

Engage in opportunities for self reflection

Self reflection is a good time for children to learn about what they have done towards others, or what they could have done differently. Sometimes a scenario goes wrong and it can mean they are struggling with how it unfolded and what they could have changed. This is a perfect time to sit your child down and discuss the problem, and what they learnt about the scenario. It also helps them break down what happened and see that how they handled it might not have been as bad as they thought.

Model empathy in front of others

Empathising with our children takes many forms and will include both physical and emotional needs being met. This will include showing your child how to be kind towards others in public, knowing when something isn’t just quite right, or guiding your child towards activities you know they will enjoy.

Children learn a lot from the small actions we all perform on a regular basis. If you ignore someone in public, then your child will notice that, or you reject a member of staff’s wishes. These smaller acts of kindness can also be seen in children too, so ensure you provide all of your attention to them to gradually see the growth.

Provide opportunities to practice empathy

Talk to your child about more complicated issues that can give your child a lot more to think about. Discuss issues in meetings, or over the table at dinner time. Talk to your child on the same level as you would with your partner or spouse, or another family member. Get them involved in the conversations to see what they would suggest.

For example, if you’re wondering whether to invite a friend over to a birthday party when they are not on good terms with another friend then you could see what your child thinks. They may not know the person but they have an opportunity to add their own voice to the scenario.

So long as you pay particular attention to your child’s actions, they can slowly learn how to express empathy and support for others. Be patient with the process and ensure they are able to pick up these core skills as they grow older. 

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