Chris Mc Ardle

Children's Book Author

How to Help Your Child Develop More Empathy

Despite what most people think, you can teach your child to be more empathetic! Empathy doesn’t mean just being able to walk into the person’s shoes and look at things from their perspective.

It means also understanding that the person is an individual with their own needs. With that in mind, here are a few ways you can teach your child to be more empathetic toward others:

Social Referencing

Social cues and references are the first things children learn. There’s a reason why we’re often told that adults are the ones who set an example. Your child will look at you as a role model and remember that charity starts at home.

If you have a guest over and are courteous, your child will learn from your interactions with your guests. If you regularly volunteer and donate to charity, your child will learn that kindness is crucial.

Talk About People’s Feelings

Help your child understand other people’s emotions by talking to them about how they feel. For example, “Amanda feels sad because you took her toy” and “Chris is angry because you said something mean to him.”

This should be followed by actions. Ask your child to apologize to the person and make amends. But first make sure they understand what they did wrong. A heartfelt apology will only be possible when your child understands what they’ve done to hurt the other person.

Use First and Third Person When Necessary

When your toddler does something that hurts you, make sure to let them know using the first person.

For example, “I don’t like it when you pinch or bite me. It hurts me and I would like it if you stop.”

When solving problems together or coming across situations that can create major issues later on, use the third person. For example, “We can figure this out together. We will find a solution to the problem.”

Validate your Child’s Feelings

When your child feels emotional, don’t disregard their feelings. Make sure you validate them. Even if they’re wrong, don’t tell them off. You need to validate their feelings, while them understand what they’ve done wrong.

For example, “You’re angry because I didn’t let you have dessert before dinner. You have the right to be angry because you want to have dessert first. However, we can have dinner and then have ice cream.”

Use Pretend Play

If you have an older toddler, you can use pretend play to talk about feelings. Take a stuffed animal they own and ask them, “How do you think they feel?”

This will go a long way in educating your child about actions, behaviors, and emotions.

These are a few ways you can help your child develop empathy.

If you want to educate your child on things like compassion, gratitude, love, and friendship, we recommend reading the book, “Gepetto Introduces Mushroom Land” by Chris McArdle.

It is one of his most recent works that teaches children important lessons and helps them safely explore the world around them.

He focuses on morals and values, kindness and compassion, as well as gratitude. He is the author of several children’s books, all of which have unique characters that make learning a fun experience.

The book is available on Amazon and Kindle:

Leave a Comment