Genuine empathy is the ability to understand and respect the feelings and perspective of another person, then respond in ways that are compassionate and helpful. Empathy is not quickly in early childhood. However, children who are taught to be empathetic at a young age typically grow into being understanding, well-adjusted adults. Consider the following tips when introducing this concept to your child.
Empathize with your child and others
Modeling empathy for your children is the best way to lead by example. If your child sees you treating a waitress or a clerk poorly, they are sure to notice. Instead, you should acknowledge other people's feelings by asking your child, "How do you think she is feeling?" It will help your child be able to put themselves in the other person's shoes and understand their feelings and situation instead of treating someone poorly.
Teach them to identify their feelings
If your child can't understand their feelings, they can't empathize with another person. In early childhood, you need to label their feelings (even the negative ones), so they can begin to connect words with emotions. You can start by asking your child to describe how they’re feeling and then compare that to the proper emotion like happy, sad, etc.
Give your child responsibilities
Allow your child to care for a small pet or help a younger sibling at home. Let them get involved in a family service project, or donate to a charity. By teaching children to be responsible, they will start to consider the needs of others.
Do everything for your child
We want to solve all our children's problems, especially in early childhood, but sometimes it's better for them to learn and choose appropriate responses themselves. When something goes wrong, or another person is upset, allow your child to determine the specific problem, consider the solutions that would make the other person feel better, and then respond compassionately.
Act out in anger
If you act out at people angrily instead of stopping and thinking through your feelings, your child will learn to do the same. You are your child's role model, so don't be surprised to see their aggressive behavior if you act in the same way. Always think before you act because they watch everything you do.
If you are looking for childcare services in the Lincoln, NE, area, turn to World of Knowledge Child Development Center. Their early childhood development experts treat each child with empathy and care. This child care facility offers fun-filled, stimulating days of learning and activities for babies, toddlers, as well as a half-day preschool program for 3- to 5-year-olds. Call (402) 483-4769 to register or visit their website to learn more about their various program options.