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Nurture Empathy


Social-Emotional Learning ^21st Century Skills ^Extra-curricular/At-Home All Ages Strategy


Flexible Thinking Self-regulation

Nurture Empathy

All children, particularly those who struggle with friendships

How To Apply It!

  1. Self-awareness and supportive adult relationships are essential for developing empathy, and empathy leads to healthier, happier adults.
  2. When your child is upset, begin any discussion by listening and understanding to how he feels, even if you might not agree with his feelings or reaction. This is the foundation for a trusting relationship.
  3. When you have a child's trust and faith, you can extend your relationship by providing insight into the behaviors of others.
  4. Discuss why a friend might be acting "mean" or a teacher or coach might seem "unfair".
  5. While validating your child's point of view and feelings, have them consider how the other person might be feeling. Encourage them to remember a time when they might have felt that way or acted in a similar manner.
  6. Group projects are often an important opportunity to model empathy that will translate into real world skills. Encourage students to communicate their feelings. Encourage them to think about their own strengths and weaknesses when working with others. Remind them that everyone is working with their own challenges and strengths.
  7. Harvard Graduate School of Education's Making Caring Common offers additional classroom resources to teach empathy in classroom settings.

Why It Works (the Science Of Learning)!

If children are not comfortable with themselves, it grows increasingly difficult for them to be sensitive and understanding of others' needs and challenges. Children learn to be self-aware and self-confident with the support of adults. Trusting adult relationships can open their eyes to their own strengths and needs and an ability to show empathy for others. Empathy is directly correlated with better adult behaviors and better mental health.