“Can you write a post about how kids can learn empathy?” asked my husband. “I was having a tough time getting through to [our son] about how his actions were affecting his brother.”
I don’t have a blog post about empathy? I wondered. But I discuss it all the time.
And for good reason. Empathy has so many benefits, both for our kids and for more effective parenting. For instance:
- Children get along better with other kids because they can put themselves in their shoes.
- Children learn to regulate their emotions, such as during meltdowns and when they’re over excited.
- Children can separate other people’s emotions from theirs. For instance, a child may get upset when he sees another child cry. But with empathy, he learns that the other child is the one who really needs help.
While I’ve listed so many benefits and have suggested empathy as a parenting tool, I’ve yet to illustrate just how we can encourage this skill with their kids.
Below are effective ways of teaching our kids to show empathy: