Monday 8 May 2023

Teaching Your Child to Empathise with Others

**Collaborative Post**

AD: Empathy is a way that we can train children to be kind and considerate of those around them. It encourages them to think about those other than themselves and can teach them how to handle social situations better. We’ve teamed up with a private school in London to share how you can build your child’s emotional intelligence. 

Continue reading for their top tips.

Label the Different Emotions

In order to empathise with others, your child must be able to identify emotions and tell them apart. So to start, label each and point them out so that they can learn what they look like. Learning what different emotions mean and being able to recognise them also helps children communicate with you how they are feeling, even before they can talk. You could have picture cards that detail different emotions and ask your child to show you how they are feeling with a card for example. It can get rid of a lot of frustration from a child if they can't speak too. 

Look at Their Own Feelings

If your child has trouble with this, try looking back at times when they have felt any of them themselves. That will allow them to understand how others feel in certain situations and empathise better. Try to have this conversation when the issue happens and ask them to verbalise how they feel and then ask them why they think this might be and if appropriate how they think the other person may be feeling too. 

Use Prompts

Try encouraging your child to think about how those around them feel in social situations. This will help them to be more aware of their actions and be empathetic towards others. Most children's natural instinct is to care about those around them. Laughter can be infectious and when other kids are crying, kids are often naturally caring and concerned. 

Validate their Emotions

Returning to their emotions, take time to understand and validate your child’s feelings. This will help their understanding of them and teach them the basics of showing empathy. Avoid phrases such as "You're ok" or "You're a big boy/girl" These phrases cut down kid's feelings and imply that older children and adults don't cry which we all know isn't true. 

Look At Solutions

Also, look at solutions together. Aside from taking the time to listen and provide reassurance, there may be ways that they can help and be a good friend to those around them. For example, they can cheer their friends up by inviting them to play and helping them with whatever they are struggling with.

While these tips will all help you in developing their empathy and understanding, it’s important that you have patience as children all develop and learn at their own pace. Allow children to feel and experience emotion and be there to help them when they need comfort or explanation. Emotions are a complete rollercoaster and something we still struggle to work out as an adult sometimes so just remember when little people are feeling big feelings it is totally understandable for them to be overwhelming for everyone. 


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