As a parent, we always want to deliver best to our children. From providing advance education to the facilities of modern world, we make sure that whatever we are investing on our children at present, will make them reap the fruits in future. We became very happy when we see our toddler solves a mathematical question or learns the right order of alphabetical letters but often miss out to teach the core principles of life. We just want them to match the pace of competitive world as early as possible. The reality is that the major challenge parents face in today’s worlds is teaching children “empathy”. Empathy is a skill that allows us to take perspective of others in efforts to understand one another and solve problem in relationships with the people we work, live, and love. It is the ability to understand how someone else is feeling in a particular situation and respond with care. It is a valuable trait for child’s development and parents need to take care of this too.
Here are the following ways through which you can develop your child behavior and teach empathy:
Establish A Strong Connection with Your Toddler: If you want to teach empathy to your toddlers, then the first step should be building a secure and loving relationship with them. A strong connection will help your child to understand your perceptions and eventually he/she will learn how to accept and understand the feelings of others.
Understand the Theory of Social Referencing: Social referencing is a process where a babywill look at the people in the surroundings to gauge his/her reaction to a person or situation. When your baby is around 6 months old, he will start using social referencing. Toddlersobserve the behavior of others and emulate their actions.The way you are treating others, helping people in need or handling new situations, everything will be observed by your toddlers. For this, you first need to do your behaviour analysis, try being correct and present best example in every situation.Try to be a role model if you want to shape your child behavior.
Empathize with Your Child:Understand problems, fears and worries of your children and try to empathize with them. Convince them that no matter what, you are always with them. For example, if your child fears riding a tricycle,tell them “Are you feeling scared of riding this tricycle? Don’t worry, I will be here to teach you and you will definitely enjoy the ride.” Always give them the assurance of your presence.
Talk About Other’s Feelings& Worries: One of the effective methods of teaching your children empathy is making them understand the feeling of others. For example, “Joy is not feeling well. Can you please help me to give this medicine to him? or “Siya is feeling sad because she has nobody to play with. Can you make her happy and play with her?” Connect situations and feeling of people with your child and you will see the positive results.
Narrate Them Stories About Feelings: Everybody loves hearing stories and so does the children.Stories are the best way to impart learningand develop effective thinking process in them. Narrating them stories that comprise various feelings and emotions is the easiest way to teach empathy.
Teach Them the Meaning Of Apology: When childrendo anything wrong, we ask them to apologize immediately without letting them understand their actual fault and start giving thesis on how to behave with others.We often insist them saying, “I’m sorry” and understand the responsibility for their actions. Saying “I am sorry” may feel right to the parents but it doesn’t necessarily help toddlers learn empathy. A more meaningful approach can be to help children focus on the other person’s feelings. Try to communicate with love. For example, tell your child - “Sara is crying because you pushed her for that toy. Let’s see if she is okay. If you share your toy with her, she will be happy again.” This approach will help your children understand that how their action can stimulate a reaction.
Learn to Be Patient.The process of teaching empathy to your child is time taking and parents need to have patience while doing the same. Even adults and teenagers haven’t mastered this skill completely, so we should learn to be patient with children.
We should always keep in mind that empathy is a complex skill and will continue to develop throughout your child’s life. Though the process is gradual, it is rewarding at the end.Anchor