Empathy builds a positive classroom culture, it strengthens community, and it prepares students to be future leaders in their community. I teach empathy in the classroom through literature, our a.m. journal writing, and first-hand opportunities such as who we are partnered up with for various activities, or how we express random acts of kindness (not only on the national holiday, but throughout the year). How can you help your child develop empathy at home? Here are some tips for helping your child recognize empathy and take action:
- Address your child’s own needs, and teach him how to “bounce back” from distress
- Treat children as individuals with minds of their own, and talk to them about the ways that our feelings influence our behavior
- Seize every day to model empathic behavior and point out situations that call for empathy
- Be mindful of social media use
- Help kids discover what they have in common with other people
- Help kids explore other roles and perspectives - encourage empathy through play-acting, stories and movies
- Help kids develop a sense of morality that depends on internal self-control, not on rewards or punishments
- Give kids “do-overs” (use discipline moments as times we can help our children grasp how their actions affected others
- Examine your values – do what you say!
*Some material adapted from Home and School Connection , Resources for Educators, a division of CCH Inc.
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