How to Teach Kids to Practice Empathy
In order to show a child just what it means to empathize with another person it is up to the adult in their lives. Be it a parent, an elder relative, or a caretaker that can show a child how to react to others in their time of need.
This is not always the easiest thing to teach, as learning how to be empathetic is far more intuitive than cerebral. It can be broken down and delivered as a lesson, but this can cause the individual to lose a great deal of focus when it comes to the actual practice. Some things don’t need to be analyzed and calculated as thoroughly as others, and empathy is something that you must feel in order to learn.
With a child, empathy can be quite simple as they will attempt to model their behavior after what they see, hear, and learn from the adult they see as an authority figure. Parents can teach their children how empathize with others in many ways, such as:
1) When watching television let the child know that any violence they witness is not acceptable behavior, and that the victim must be feeling very bad at that point. This can be practiced with cartoons for children, as the point might be easier to take and less traumatic.
2) If you and your child are outdoors and see someone being hurt or someone hurt themselves in some accidental way it could be the opportune time not only to show the child how to react when someone is in need, but to understand how that person must be feeling. While it is important to keep a child from being overtly affected by violence of any kind, it is still important to let them understand how another person might feel when they are wounded or in trouble.
3) Your child will respond to the moods of others if you show them that you have the capacity. By showing empathy for others in full view of your child you will show that such feelings are normal and quite acceptable. This will show your child that caring for others is perfectly okay.
Empathy for one’s fellow person is an important quality to teach children. In order to teach the next generation to care for others it is necessary to show them how to cultivate such feelings and use them accordingly.