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How to Cultivate Empathy in Children?

Deeksha   |  29-Dec-2018

By Deeksha

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Surprisingly, "How to cultivate empathy in children?" is one of the most common questions asked by educators and parents. Empathy is the innate ability to know and feel for another person. It is one of the most powerful qualities that halts cruel and violent behaviour to treat people kindly.While parents and educators want children to be academically intelligent, it is delightful to figure out that most of them also want their children to value and comprehend other's opinion just as they value their own. It may not be easy to teach empathy to children, but it is never too late. Teaching children empathy will aid in the overall development and growth. Moreover, when children embrace their empathetic side, they will become more confident. Here are a few simple ways to teach empathy to your child:

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1) Teach children about emotions

Children may not be able to empathise with happenings around them if they are not able to put their emotions into words. Over a period, educators and parents should try to interpret children about different feelings they go through. With this continuous process, children will have a better grasp on emotions. Additionally, parents should explain the emotions they are experiencing because children will start hearing it and know what it means to feel something.

2) Praise empathetic behaviour

If children perform an act of kindness, educators or parents should be specific about it and tell them that it is the right thing one can do. The specifics make it easy for children to comprehend the emotions and how other people feel about it. Praising children for their right actions will aid them to be emotionally aware and empathetic.

3) Discuss those feelings

For instance, when children are fighting, not imparting logical reasoning will make sense to them. Instead, educators or parents should wait for the fight between children to be over and the situation to be calmer. Then, the parents or educators go back to children who were fighting and talk to them about what he/she was feeling, why he/she acted the way he/she did. Parents should discuss how they felt, why they felt those emotions and teach them to express themselves instead of retaliating. Helping children get hold on emotions will help them better.

4) Encourage children through stories

Parents should help children build empathy through plays, stories, role-playing, by reading books to them and so on. Children should also be made to look inside the character’s personality and mind so that they can comprehend how others feel. They should be made watch inspirational movies that will help them make room for careful reflection of how other's feel in a situation.

5) Teach the basic rules of politeness

Good manners are one of the greatest ways for children to show respect and care for others. Parents should teach them the need for the importance of politeness in society and how it helps to create mutual respect. These help children communicate better in the future.

The above-mentioned tips will help children realise his/her innate potential to be kind and empathetic. However, there is no alternative for acting empathically and allowing children to observe. Therefore, parents should lead by example and help children empathise.


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