21 April 2008

How to Teach your Child Empathy

Children in a doorway in JerusalemImage via Wikipedia

Empathy is an extremely important skill for our children to develop. Simply put, it is the abilty to understand the feelings of others and to respond in an appropriate way. It is one of the most primary of moral fundamentals as it defines our relationships and the way we interact socially. Unfortunately, it is not something that develops on its own- Instead it is a skill that must be taught, encouraged and developed.

Children who are not taught empathy grow to be callous adults who have difficulties forming good relationships with others. Having a capacity for empathy now helps your children relate to others better. The benefits are many, the least of which will help them to achieve more in school.

Scientific studies suggest that children under the age of 18 months are not able to understand the concept of empathy, but by modelling the behaviour you want to encourage in them you are providing a good foundation to build on as they grow.


-Young children need to learn to name their emotions.

It helps them to make sense of their emotional world and is the first building block in learning empathy. Naming emotions allows you to talk about them with your child. You can begin to help your child understand what to do with their feelings and teach them such important concepts as how their actions affect others, consequences etc.

-Keep an eye out for opportunities to practise empathy with your child.

You could encourage your child to befriend the new boy or girl at playgroup. Talk about feeling lonely and being friendly and how that would make the other child feel. With older children you can discuss social issues and ask questions like, "How would you feel if . . .". Or 'What would you do . . . ". Perhaps you could let your actions teach the lesson. Take on some sort of volunteer work as a family, or offer your family's services to weed your neighbours garden when they are not well.

-Teach your child the basic rules of politeness.

Saying your pleases and thank yous is a concrete way to show respect and caring to other people. It didnt do us any harm!

- Children also need to learn to read non-verbal clues about how people are feeling.

They need to be taught how to read facial expressions and body language- You could play a sort of 'Emotional Charades' game - where you model an emotion and your child has to guess what it is. Role play is another good way to hone this skill.

-Give your child chores to complete each day.

Research has found that children who learn responsibility also learn altruism ( unselfishness/compassion ) and caring.

The most important thing you can do to teach your child empathy is to model it yourself.

Try not to use anger to control your child. Easier said than done, I know, but by treating your child calmly yet firmly and above all fairly you are teaching your child an important lesson about caring and respect.

Take an interest in your child's social world- Ask specific questions about the people in your childs daily life. This reinforces the importance of relationships with others.

After all, no man is an island...

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nigel said...

how do you find the time? i think your blogs are great :) if you keep this up you will win a 'super blogger' award!

kiwimeg said...

Well, the kids do go to bed eventually . . . thank goodness ;)


Teach Your Child to Read Today!

Reading is one of the most important skills one must master to succeed in life. It helps your child succeed in school, helps them build self-confidence, and helps to motivate your child. Being able to read will help your child learn more about the world, understand directions on signs and warnings on labels, allow them to discover reading as an entertainment, and help them gather information.

Learning to read is very different from learning to speak, and it does not happen all at once. There is a steady progression in the development of reading ability over time. The best time for children to start learning to read is at a young age - even before they enter pre-school. Once a child is able to speak, they can begin developing basic reading skills. Very young children have a natural curiosity to learn about everything. They are naturally intrigued by the printed texts they see, and are eager to learn about the sounds made by those letters. You will likely notice that your young child likes to look at books and thoroughly enjoys being read to. They will even pretend to behave like a reader by holding books and pretend to read them.

At what age can you start teaching a child to read? When they're babies? At 2 years old, 3, 4, or 5 years old, or wait until they're in school?

If you delay your child's reading skill development until he or she enters school, you are putting your child at risk...

Did you know that 67% of all Grade 4 students cannot read at a proficient level! According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, of those 67%, 33% read at just the BASIC level, and 34% CANNOT even achieve reading abilities of the lowest basic level!

There is a super simple and extremely effective system that will even teach 2 and 3 year old children to read.

This is a unique reading program developed by two amazing parents and reading teachers, Jim and Elena, who successfully taught their four children to read before turning 3 years old. The reading system they developed is so effective that by the time their daughter was just 4 years 2 months old, she was already reading at a grade 3 level. They have videos to prove it.

>> Click here to watch the videos and learn more.

Their reading system is called Children Learning Reading, and it is nothing like the infomercials you see on TV, showing babies appearing to read, but who have only learned to memorize a few word shapes. This is a program that will teach your child to effectively decode and read phonetically. It will give your child a big head start, and allow you to teach your child to read and help your child develop reading skills years ahead of similar aged children.

This is not a quick fix solution where you put your child in front of the TV or computer for hours and hope that your child learns to "read"... somehow...

This is a reading program that requires you, the parent, to be involved. But the results are absolutely amazing. Thousands of parents have used the Children Learning Reading program to successfully teach their children to read.

All it takes is 10 to 15 minutes a day.

>> Click here to get started right now. How to Teach a 2 or 3 Year Old to Read.