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How to develop empathy in children?

Empathy is what we most want to develop in our children, however, sometimes it is difficult to bring them closer to this world. To transmit all our values to make them respectful and conscious people. Here we show you some activities that you can do to start developing empathy in children, we will also talk about what is the importance of doing so, as well as a small approach to its definition.

What is empathy?

To teach something we must be clear about what we are referring to. In this case, we will understand it as the affective action towards another person, in which we learn to look with different eyes. Where you learn and understand the other from their own context and learning. This depends on patient and nonjudgmental listening, an interaction mediated entirely by respect.

Many people would say put us in their shoes, it may be, but the reality there is the detail. Using this analogy, we could not as such do it because we wear different numbers, maybe we or the other person has some particular foot, etc. so we could not fully understand their experience using that shoe. It is then when more than guessing we must ask: What bothers him about the shoe, what learnings he had, how is his way of coping, etc. It is to set aside our privileges and listen to other truths or use our space of privilege to show realities.

Why is it important to talk about empathy?

The importance of this lies in the fact that we are social people, par excellence we require other and form systems with other people. Being empathetic allows me to form networks and bonds that will have more reach in the future than if I acted alone.

It allows me to understand the world from different angles, understand the conditions to which I do not have access, look at things differently, learn from myself and the others, develop skills and explore a more human or event-sensitive side, and change realities, among many other things. But how to make children develop empathy:

1. Play the researcher

Part of the process is to help you develop the ability to ask appropriate questions when approaching the other, learn to be assertive, and in turn know how to listen. Play the researcher. Tell him the story, to make it more interesting it can be something that your grandfather or a friend told you, someone very different from you, try to give it a little thought, that it becomes interesting but long. So you will have to be patient and to be able to create questions you must know how to listen. Ask him questions about what you told him. Within this teach them the assertive rights and how to elaborate assertive phrases, that is, that does not happen on the rights of the other. Always try to recognize all his successes. For this, you must also develop assertiveness and empathy at his side so that you can guide him correctly. Don’t forget to make it fun and avoid scolding.

2. Always listen to your emotions

Emotions should be an important topic in their formation. We recommend you work on them, learn to identify them, and make a decalogue where you can know how you feel physically, what you usually think, etc.

Identifying your own emotions will allow you to do so more easily with others and respect them as much as you do with yourself.

3. Opposing ideas

Talk about the importance of diversity. That the world is full of things with which we may or may not agree, but that very thing allows us to take advantage of an opinion. You should know that you can defend your opinions but you should not expect others to adopt them, because we are all different.

4. Shoe analogy

To explain the concept you can use the example I explain above, ask him to put on his shoe, tell you what he thinks of him and explain how you feel in the same shoes. Explore together the reason for divided ideas, which is due to their particularities and what happens with people. To be empathetic you must look at their context and not yours. Do not forget to mention that no one is worse than the other, they are just different, this is to prevent you from resorting sometimes to the feeling of pity.

5. Am I trying to resolve the situation or am I empathetic?

To explain the difference between this, you can continue with the example above, ask him to solve the problem you have with your shoe, and tell him that it hurts you when walking. It will probably give you options but they must make it clear that it will not depend on him to change your situation. It’s all up to you and then you can add another comment, such as you tried to solve it but I may not want to modify that problem, because although they bother me a little, it is not enough to change them, because they are my favorites. That is, understand from the game that empathy is listening, supporting with this or with advice if asked, but that you can not solve something that is not yours or catalog something as a problem when it is not so for the person.

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