As adults, sometimes when you look around, there are moments that it does get overwhelming. Let’s admit it. Craziness around, hatred and anger being spewed by adults. Adults that are supposed to be and do better.That is the reason why teaching kids and demonstrating love and empathy to them is more important than ever these days. Building an understanding of what others are feeling, making sense of everything is such a challenge. What about the kids? What are we teaching them? They need to have trust and feel the love in themselves, their surroundings including how their own actions can impact others. Experiencing what others are feeling at a particular time is a valuable life skill for children to acquire.
Helping young children to develop a strong sense of empathy is beneficial because:
- It helps them to build a sense of security and stronger relationships with other children and educators, it helps them learn better.
- It encourages understanding and acceptance of others
- It promotes good mental health
- It promotes social harmony and can reduce the likelihood of bullying
- It reduces the feeling of self entitlement
The benefits of empathetic thinking flows into adulthood . Empathetic adults have been shown to have:
- Greater success personally and professionally
- Higher levels of overall happiness
- Better ability to understand others, i.e customers or co-workers
- More success in leadership positions
- Healthier relationships and better at dealing with conflict
- Lower levels of stress
The world is ever changing and evolving,developing.Teaching children to have empathy is an important foundation for the children to have in order to regulate and navigate their thoughts and emotions, that perhaps can at times feel tumultuous when growing up.
How can we help children develop empathy?
Parents are children’s first teachers. Modeling empathetic behavior is one of the best ways parents can teach their child this valuable skill.
Other simple ways empathy can be developed includes:
- Helping children name their feelings. Understanding their own feelings is an important first step in understanding the feelings of others
- Validating and listening to children when they are expressing themselves and not denying, negating them and those feelings.
- Talking to your child about how other people may be feeling, and why. This helps to build their emotional language and think about other people’s perspectives.
- Caring for animals and plants, which helps children understand the role they play in helping another living thing survive,thrive and be happy.
Perhaps also, one of the simplest ways of all to help children develop a sense of empathy is by reading books together. When you spend even the simplest of quality time with them as such, they feel and internalize love and compassion thru that experience with you and the characters in the books.It makes them feel like you do care. At the end of the day, it is the little gestures that are meaningful.
Let us hear your thoughts on developing love and empathy in children.How do you bring that awareness in children? Write in the comment section below. We would love to hear from you.