Key Strategies To Teach Children Empathy

April 15, 2023

Quote of the Week

"Empathy is about finding echoes of another person in yourself." --Mohsin Hamid

Key Strategies To Teach Children Empathy

You may have heard the saying, “Before you criticize or judge someone, walk a mile in their shoes.”  Empathy is the ability to be aware of the feelings of others and imagine what it might be like to be in their position. Empathy is a key ingredient in positive friendships and relationships. It reduces conflict and misunderstandings and leads to helping behavior, kindness, and even greater success in life in general.

Any time you want to teach a skill to a child, it’s important to model it yourself. This way, the child understands what empathy looks like, sounds like, and feels like. Plus, it’s easier to teach a skill that you’ve already mastered yourself. Remember to model empathy even when you’re upset with or giving consequences to your child. This reinforces the idea that empathy can and should be used even when you’re feeling disappointed, hurt, or angry. The more children receive empathy, the more likely they are to offer it to others. And like any skill, empathy can be taught and developed in children. Because cognitive abilities and life experiences develop over time, the most effective strategies to use depend on the child’s age.  Read more in this week's featured article from Big Life Journal.

Reading Corner

Title: Listening With My Heart
By: Gabi Garcia
Ages: 5-8

"This book is not only about kindness and compassion towards others, but also about showing yourself some compassion when things don’t go as you planned."

Be the Change

Try any of these strategies for teaching kids empathy and discover what emerges over time. Remember that like anything, it takes practice--and children give us the opportunity to practice every day!