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Empathy can be described as a powerful emotion that allows individuals to understand and share the feelings with those around us. As a parent, nurturing empathy in your child is one of the most important responsibilities you have. Empathetic children are known to grow up to be kind, understanding and compassionate adults, who contribute positively to society. Below is a guide that goes into more detail on ways to teach your child to empathise with others, as advised by this sixth form in West Sussex.
Be the best role model
Children will always end up mirroring the significant adults in their lives, which makes it that much more important to pay careful attention to your words and actions as your child is growing up. Given that little ones learn through observation, be sure to show empathy towards others on a regular basis through daily interactions and make the discussion of emotions normal by ensuring your child doesn’t view them as something to hide away from. The more normal you make this act, the more likely that they will pick it up and practice it as one of their own.
Active listening also comes side by side with this and is a vital aspect of developing empathy. Teach your child to pay close attention to when others are talking, and to respond with care and understanding. This simple practice fosters empathy as your child begins to learn to acknowledge and validate the feelings and experiences of those around them. By actively listening to friends, family and even peers in class, they will begin to develop a deeper understanding and connection with empathy, especially when it comes to relationships.
Encourage and incorporate acts of kindness
Incorporating acts of kindness into your child’s daily life will also help nurture empathy. Empathy and kindness are well known for going hand in hand, so it is important to encourage your child to perform acts of kindness regularly as it will help build empathy in them over time. Whether it’s helping a friend who needs emotional support or being considerate to those in the community, small acts of kindness truly are a great way to create a positive environment and build empathy in little ones.
Teaching empathy to your child is a journey that will require patience, understanding and a whole lot of effort on a regular basis. Through acts of kindness and a great role model leading them on their journey, your child will be well on their way to developing an attribute that will stay with them for life.