How to teach Kids Empathy…

Small World

“It’s a Small World After All”

The world seems to be getting smaller every day…so how do we teach our children about diversity and empathy.

As a social worker and therapist it is inherent that I have the ability to be sensitive to the feelings and life events of others. A good therapist also has to be culturally competent and understand the dimensions that culture adds to a person’s life

At a very early age, I remember my grandmother making me sensitive to the feelings of others.

She grew up in NYC and was very sensitive to the many cultures that lived around her.   She herself was Irish, and lived in a diverse area of Brooklyn where in the early 1900’s. At that time her neighbors were mostly, Irish, Italian and Jewish immigrants.

Uniqueness of every person and family and cultural differences were all things to celebrate. One of the ways my grandmother did this, was to enjoy the diverse foods in her neighborhood.

As a child, I did not realize that I was learning to understand others and appreciate differences rather than be afraid of them…if someone did not speak English it was not really a problem…there was always some way to communicate. Different was simply different!

So how is it these days, that we as parents and grandparents teach our kids and grandkids to be tolerant of the vast diverse population that we find ourselves living amongst?

The article below suggests some ways that we can teach young children empathy which will help them to become good listeners and problem solvers in the future.

Please, also take a look at www.startempathy.org

Start Empathy, an initiative of Ashoka, is a community of individuals and institutions dedicated to building a future in which every child masters empathy.

 

Some easy things you can do to promote an understanding of diversity and empathy:

  • Be a role model to your children
  • Cook with your children and make recipes from other cultures
  • Listen to music from other countries
  • Go to museums, movies and restaurants that celebrate other cultures

 

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I can’t force my daughter to not whine or have tantrums over what we, in our mature adult POV, believe is just plain silly, but we can teach her empathy, which is simply the ability to be aware and sensitive to the feelings of others.

 

Start Empathy, a collaboration of social entrepreneurs, educators and parents – has realized that by teaching our children empathy  we are giving them a “crucial skill for leading a successful and happy life.” Empathy provides a strong foundation for listening, communications, collaboration and problem-solving – critical skills in a rapidly changing and diverse world

One thought on “How to teach Kids Empathy…

  1. Good job! Somehow it has been sadly overlooked. So many problems with bullying and group behaviors might have been evaded by teaching empathy. Every year I taught it was
    at the center of inter-personal discussions.

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