Raising an Empathetic Child

A good head start begins with the heart.

Empathy is an essential catalyst to acting ethically and forming good relationships with others around us. Raising an empathetic child can go a long way in building a foundation for future success in their life.

So how do we cultivate empathy in our children?

  1. Practise little acts of kindness

There are times when we may encounter the elderly or people with disabilities in public. These encounters can be opportunities for us to spark conversations with our children on how we can treat them with respect and explain how our actions towards others can be compassionate and just. Encourage your child to approach the ones in need and ask if they can offer any assistance; for example, helping an elderly with the heavy items he/ she is carrying.  Doing the act together with your child can also set a good example for them to follow!

  1. Relating to others

Some children may feel awkward or shy to approach a stranger and offer their help. Weekend interactions may provide opportunities for them to start! Our children can learn how to comfort a sad relative or reach out to a new friend at the playground who is shy or feeling awkward. Practise using conversation starters or asking open-ended questions such as “Do you need help with climbing?” Our children can also learn to be more inclusive instead of interacting with only those whom they are familiar with.

Try asking your child questions so that they can relate to the situation that another child is in, such as “How would you feel if you are alone at the playground without any friends?” or “Wouldn’t it be nice if someone can approach you and console you when you are sad?”

  1. Listening

Demonstrate to your child the importance of listening to others. Try to put aside distractions such as mobile phones or tablets, and listen carefully to what your child is saying so that they feel valued and understood. In this way, children may likely do the same when others are speaking to them.

  1. Express gratitude

Remind children to express appreciation for their family members, teachers, or others who love them and add value to their lives. A simple ‘Thank You’ or a written note to express appreciation can make a difference to both the giver and receiver.

  1. Volunteer

Provide opportunities for your child to volunteer for charity work or at elderly care centres, such as giving away their unused toys or clothes to other underprivileged children, caring for abused animals or helping with simple acts in vulnerable local communities. This can help your child appreciate what they have and not take what they have for granted.

There is so much we can all do to nurture the next generation!

At M.Y World, we encourage our children and their families to participate in various meaningful community outreach activities. These activities are often an eye-opener for both parents and children. Seeing you in action serving the needy will leave a deep impression on your children like nothing else can. Contact our centres here to find out more about our community work and how we nurture our children to be caring individuals!