At the heart of what it means to be human lies empathy. It forms the foundation for good relationships as it entails valuing other people’s perspectives. Moreover, it’s the key to preventing bullying in school as well as many other forms of cruelty. So, how can caregivers foster a child’s empathy?
Various studies have revealed that when children’s emotional needs are met during childcare, they are likely to cultivate a strong sense of empathy. This means that when kids can count on the physical as well as emotional support of caregivers during child care or at preschool, then they are more likely to assist those other kids who are in distress of some kind not to mention showing them empathy.
It is therefore extremely crucial for caregivers to help children cope with their negative emotions in a problem-solving oriented way.
Empathizing with them can take many forms such as;
Caregivers who treat children as individuals with minds of their own are able to talk to them about the way their feelings influence their behavior.
During child care, children are able to learn empathy by watching how we treat other people. They will notice if we treat a waiter in a restaurant as if they were invisible and on the other hand, they will notice if we show concern about another child in their class who is facing some challenge.
In as much as children are born with the capacity for empathy, it needs to be nurtured throughout their lives. For them to learn empathy, it requires constant practice and guidance just like learning a sport. Caregivers can foster this through the following:
Many times when children don’t express empathy to others it is not because they don’t possess it, on the contrary, it is because some feeling is getting in their way of empathy.
This ability to care for others is overwhelmed by certain feelings of anger, shame, envy and so on. In preschool or daycare, helping children manage these negative emotions is often what releases their empathy. Start by:
By employing these tips during child care, it is possible to develop strong empathetic skills in children as they grow under our care and guidance.
Empowering children to confidently grow as independent life long learners!
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