How to Foster Empathy in Your Preschooler

Posted on June 28, 2019 : Posted in Children's Success in Life & School, Education and Development

Empathy, the ability to consider the thoughts and feelings of others, is a life skill that will benefit your child well into adulthood. With the right empathy skills, a child can develop stronger friendships, foster trust, and even boost creativity. Of course, empathy does develop gradually. After all, when your child enters the world, they only know their own needs for food, comfort, and safety. However, you can help your child foster those empathy skills in age-appropriate ways. Here are some ways to get started fostering empathy in your preschooler, beginning with childcare. Berkeley Lake GA has plenty of options.

Socialization Matters

The right childcare can give your kid plenty of socialization opportunities. With proper socialization, your child can get to know other kids, which will help them understand that other kids have thoughts and feelings. In group environments, children can play games, do group activities, and get input from other children. Furthermore, teachers can go beyond mere supervision when it comes to childcare. Berkeley Lake GA teachers at Legacy Academy use empathy-building activities.

Siblings Can Help

Outside of childcare, Berkeley Lake GA parents can encourage empathy at home. Siblings can help. If you have more than one child, then your kids will gain an early sense of empathy. You can encourage that empathy in your preschooler by pointing out your children’s circumstances. For example, your preschooler might get frustrated that their younger sibling can’t play certain games. You might say “Your brother is a baby, remember. He hasn’t learned that game yet.” As a result, your older child will start thinking of their younger sibling’s feelings and abilities.

How Did that Make You Feel?

Get into the habit of talking about feelings with kids. You don’t have to hide your feelings from your children. On the contrary, when you share your feelings, you help your children develop empathy. You can tell your children when you’re happy or sad. They’ll start making connections between your circumstances and your feelings.

Don’t forget to talk about your children’s feelings, too. Remind them that their feelings matter. You can validate their feelings by acknowledging them. When they tell you about their experiences, ask them how they felt.

Are You Okay?

Here’s a simple way to encourage empathy: ask people if they’re okay. This tactic is especially helpful when a child hits or bites another child. Sometimes, kids hurt other children without thinking about the consequences. Ask the child who got hurt: “Are you okay?” Move the focus to the other child. This technique reminds the first child that other people have feelings and can get hurt, fostering empathy in your preschooler.

Involve Their Favorite Characters

When you read to your kids, their favorite characters can help them develop empathy. Reading in general encourages empathy, but you can take it a step further. When you read out loud, make observations: things like “Wow, that boy looks sad,” or “That dog looks excited.” Encourage your child to do the same. This way, they’ll get into the habit of noticing other people’s feelings. You can also ask questions after you finish a book. You might say things like “Why do you think the bear left the zoo?” or ask them what they would do in the same situation.

Child Care Berkeley GA

Are you looking for a preschool that will encourage your child’s empathy? When you need the best childcare, Berkeley GA has what you need with Legacy Academy. Legacy Academy uses group play and brain-building activities to boost your child’s development. Contact Legacy Academy today to learn more.