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5 Easy Ways to Raise Empathetic Children

Teach Children to be compassionate

 Empathy is the ability to understand and share another person’s feelings. The ability to share in others’ emotions is beneficial in many ways. It allows children to anticipate how someone would react to something they may do. They will be more willing to share if they are able to understand how it would make the other child feel if they didn’t. It also helps children to understand possible motives behind other people’s behavior and it encourages pro-social behavior which is defined by caring for someone else and acting in a way that benefits them. For instance, a child hugging a friend who got hurt would be an example of pro-social behavior. Empathy is the basis for compassion; Empathy combined with compassion will lead to a child who is filled with love and generosity. 


Here are some easy tips to help cultivate empathy in your child. 


1-Model the behavior you wish to encourage-
Be kind, compassionate, and generous. 
2-Label their feelings as often as possible-
They will not be able to understand other people’s feelings, if they are not capable of understanding their own. This will also help with unwanted behaviors  such as acting out which can stem from not adequately being able express their feelings.
3-Encourage role playing-
By taking on roles in dramatic play they are able to explore scenarios in which they are able to look at things from another person’s point of view and that they wouldn’t be able to do in their normal everyday life.
4-Take advantage of all the opportunities to help the child to understand another person’s feelings-
This could be done as a result of the child’s behavior, say if they steal a toy away from another child. Label the way the other child might be feeling and relate it back to a time when your child felt the same way. Another opportunity to teach about feelings would be to use TV programs or books that you enjoy together. Take the time to label the feelings of the characters and why they might feel that particular way. You may also use the opportunity to brainstorm suggestions on how one might make the particular person feel better such as giving a hug to someone who is sad or playing with a child that may be feeling left out.
5-Give them plenty of positive reinforcement when they model compassionate behavior-
Be sure to point out the satisfaction and warm feelings that comes from helping others, so that satisfaction comes from within themselves and not based on others praise.

For more ideas on raising empathetic, compassionate, and generous children check out these wonderful posts-

LESSON IN COMPASSION: PAINTING WITH OUR MOUTHS  By Creative Freckles

GREEN LIFE-EMPATHY  By Kitchen Counter Chronicles

EMOTIONS BOARD BOOK  By Love, Play, Learn

Love Never Ends By The Iowa Farmer’s Wife

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