Empathy isn’t always taught in schools, but in a lot of ways, it’s one of the most valuable lessons that a child can learn. Learning empathy helps a child show compassion for others, understand that everyone has a unique perspective, keep judgmental thoughts to a minimum, and grow into a healthy, compassionate adult that others can look up to. As with anything else, it’s best to start teaching empathy as early as possible. Here’s a few ways that parents can instill a sense of empathy in their children.

1. Teach Children About Their Emotions

One of the best ways to teach children to be empathetic is to help them understand their emotions, so they can later recognize those same emotions in others. Parents can talk to their kids about feelings, help them recognize and identify their different emotions, and limit their screen time as much as possible. Spending hours in front of a screen instead of interacting with real people can stunt their empathy later in life.

2. Help Children Understand Perspective

It can be difficult for children to understand that everyone has a unique perspective. But if a parent starts teaching them as early as possible, it’ll be easier for them to grasp the concept later in life. Their parent can illustrate the concept by saying “How would you feel if someone did that to you?” when the child misbehaves. They can also relate the child’s experiences to others to help them understand what another person might be feeling. Parents should teach their children to “walk in the other person’s shoes” so they understand that everyone has a unique perspective on life, and shouldn’t be judged or condemned for seeing the world differently.

3. Teach Children the Importance of Morals

Instilling their children with a strong sense of right and wrong is one of the best ways to ensure their children will be healthy, compassionate adults. When a child understands that an injustice has taken place, they’ll feel compelled to help and do whatever it takes to make a change. Parents can teach their children about compassion in small ways by encouraging them to show manners, signing them up for volunteer activities, teaching them about the importance of friendship, and more.

Steve Virgadamo