Empathy is the reason the world is a bit bearable today. We’ve all been in situations where if someone hadn’t been empathetic towards us, we’d have faced significant trauma.
It’s vital to the healthy social and emotional development of a child to be empathetic towards them. But at the same time, caregivers need to help inculcate the trait into them, too.
Since the basic social training of a child starts at home, caregivers must exercise caution with how they approach the concept. Here’s how you can help train your children to be more empathetic:
One of the very first ways a child will learn to be empathetic from you is when they’ll witness you exercising the trait when dealing with them. You should be gentle with them if they make mistakes and form it to be a learning experience.
For example, if the child makes an error and is upset, you can tell them that it’s alright to make mistakes and that they can start over again. You can also show them how to fix their mistakes, so it becomes a learning experience.
Get Down on Their Level
Children can’t grasp complex notions like accountability and denial, so adults must break them down for them. As a caregiver, you should employ techniques such as crouching to get on the child’s level, holding their hand in reassurance, etc., while talking to them.
For instance, if one child has snatched a toy from another, you can try explaining why they need to give the toy back, as it’s upsetting the other child.
Adults should encourage a child to freely express themselves on what and how they’re feeling. This will help you guide them in articulating how to deal with emotions like anger, jealousy, guilt, etc.
Communication will also help children be more receptive to one another’s feelings, learning how to initiate and respond in social situations.
Build Scenarios for Them
Providing context is important in helping young children make decisions about various things. For instance, if you’re teaching your child (A) why they should help others, you could provide your child with a background of a child (B) who’s sad because they can’t solve their puzzle.
Child A may not understand why they should offer help initially, but after being provided context, they may be more willing to help Child B.
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