As parents, it’s only natural that we would want our children to grow up to be a person with a good heart, has ample amount of empathy and is understanding towards others. So how do parents help to instil this good characteristic into their children?
Hopefully, with our list of ways to build the ability to understand and share the feelings of others, your child would be able to possess such characteristic that is admired and treasured by many.
Be the example for your kids
It’s a known fact that our kids follow what we do and how we react to our surroundings. Use this as a leverage to help “educate” your kids by your own show-and-tell of what and how it’s like being empathic towards others.
For example, if you and your kid see an elderly person crossing the road and it’s obvious (or not) that the person needs help, just go ahead and offer your assistance. Get your child to help you with the load too.
Always say “Thank you”
For even the smallest gestures like someone opening the door for you and your kid, teach them to always thank the other person. If you are at home, if your kid returns something to you and passes to you an item that you requested for, then you should bend down to their level and thank them.
This gesture can easily make them feel happy as they would feel like the “Thank you” is a verbal reward for their good deed.
Helping your kids to ‘read’ and understand other’s facial expressions
Children often aren’t sure of what facial expressions of a person can truly mean, so using educational card games that explain and expresses various emotions will be a good start in helping your kids to be empathic.
Body language also plays a big role in expressing one’s emotion. Try to make sure that your kid understands when you are feeling a little blue and then later explain to them why are you feeling down.
They might not get it the first few times, but eventually, they will start putting themselves in your position and it will amaze you at how understanding they can be.
Make it a habit of praising someone of their good deed
Who doesn’t like to be praised for their good behaviour or deed, right? This goes the same for kids too!
If your child has done a good job by clearing off a house chore, congratulate and praise them. This works both ways actually, you could also do something good or fun for them and asked them if you had done a good job at it.
Be generous with your praises and they too will be generous with their praises. However, do make sure that you aren’t overdoing it! Too much of it will lead to your child thinking that he/she is the best and everyone else less ‘valuable’ than he/she is.
Show that you understand their feelings
If you notice that your child is feeling a little bit under the weather or tired, give them a break time but before that say things like “You look tired, would you like to rest for a bit?” or “Do you want to take a nap, you can get back to your chores/homework after you have energised?”
Acknowledging their feelings and emotions will also make them realise that you are paying attention and genuinely do care for them and this boosts their empathy, indirectly.
Encouraging your children to get involve in charitable events
These days there are many family events that are tied to charity like marathons to help raise fund for cancer patients. Not only do you get to help them understand that the world needs their generous minds and efforts, you also get to keep your family living a healthy lifestyle.
Always remember to explain to your kids why you are joining such events because they might think it’s just for fun and there’s no meaning behind it.
Let’s build a generation that cares and saves the world from negative doings and people!