Empathy: Developing empathy in children

Empathy and decoding of this concept. Arguments for the need to live with the heart of the young generation. Ways to develop empathy in children. Compassion for children is a developed ability to feel people’s problems and rejoice in their success. Children can only demand the satisfaction of their needs, even for the interests of their own parents. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the question of how to develop in them the desire to have compassion for another person.

Why you need to develop empathy in a child

In this case, it is necessary to distinguish between the origins of the concept itself and its public sound. When the first option is analyzed, it is necessary to review the experimental psychologist Edward Kitchener, who based his conclusions on the German word Einfuhlung. He borrowed it from the aesthetic philosopher Theodor Lipps, who established himself as a scholar in the field of the influence of art on humans.

Later, in 1905, the infamous psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud made the first clear definition of the term that sounded. In his opinion, empathy is a process that takes place in the socialization of an individual with identification in the form of a child who imitates a positive example of the adult. A contemporary of Sigmund Freud, the Swiss psychiatrist Eigen Bleuler, considered such a phenomenon to be the natural solidarity of children with the environment that surrounds them.

Some people confuse empathy with compassion. However, there are some differences between these terms. With empathy, the child sympathizes with the psychological state of peers or adults.

Many parents think about the question of whether it is advisable to develop this behavioral model for their child. As arguments for the validity of this decision.

Psychologists cite the following arguments:

  • Developing Positivity … It would never occur to adult children who may sympathize with seeing the world only in black tones. They will believe in themselves and their future, without dwelling on the problems of the present.
  • Formation of tendency not to judge … Compassionate child will always understand the one who stumbled. When he is already a special adult, he will not criticize the actions of others but follow his own behavior.
  • Increasing people’s attention … A successful person is always surrounded by many acquaintances who respect him. The child of sympathy becomes popular over time because people are attracted to those who understand it.
  • Developing Listening Skills… Some skeptics consider these skills to be unnecessary formalities. In their opinion, you need to be able to speak and defend your point of view at all costs. However, practice shows that those who know how to listen achieve a lot in life.
  • Getting in touch with peers … Compassionate children know how to get away from all the conflicts that often arise in a team. Even bullying seldom provokes such a child and even tries to befriend a person who understands everyone.
  • Achieving good results in school … The same thing applies to studying at higher education institutions. Compassionate children never contradict teachers and carefully research the material that teachers present to them.
  • Emotional Intelligence Development song According to experts, a high EI allows a small person in the future to be a wise leader, a qualified psychologist, a successful politician, and a talented teacher.
  • Setting a turning point in adulthood … A child who is sensitive to the experiences of those around him learns to understand the right laws of life correctly. Psychologists say that empathetic children develop emotionally earlier and tend to think in an adult way in most cases.

Stages of empathy in children

In resolving each case, it is important not to miss the moment when the child’s personality can actually be corrected. The development of empathy in children involves several stages of its development:

  • From birth to 4 years … During the period, the baby begins to learn to identify his emotions. At the same time, in the early stages, he is able to understand and anticipate people’s emotions. As a child, he responds to his violent reactions to another child’s crying at the level of “emotional pollution”. However, after the little one says his first words and learns the world actively, one can already assume that he has some insight into the feelings of the people around him. He begins to feel the moments when a person next to him is happy or upset.
  • 4-7 years … During this period of the child’s personality development, it is already possible to assert the fact that he is beginning to become emotional towards the people around him. Even if he does not know how to properly pity a crying friend or sincerely appreciate his happy moments, an adult child can already show compassion.
  • 7-9 years … At this age, children can already not only assess another person’s moral condition but also support him in important life situations for him. On a conscious level, they can understand their soul mate in their despair and sincerely rejoice in its success.

The Japanese are of the opinion that children only grow up to the age of three and then their behavior is corrected. At the age of 10, the child has already started adolescence. Until this time, it is necessary to participate in the development of a concept such as compassion. Otherwise, it will be difficult to cultivate compassion for your children if they are already selfish.

Psychologists analyze three aspects of the process in which empathy develops in children:

  • Gaining Your Own Experience … If you do not see with your own eyes how human relationships develop properly from an early age, you cannot talk about empathy with other people. In this case, the parents are fully responsible for raising the child’s compassion. They must show by personal example what compassion is.
  • Analysis of one’s own feelings and emotions … This stage involves the understanding of the inner “I” no longer on the subconscious level, but quite tangible. The child must understand how he feels about the world around him and what place he puts himself in it.
  • Awareness of the other person’s feelings … The final stage in shaping empathy in children is the most important event. This process cannot be done without the help of adult mentors. They must teach the child to feel people’s feelings and empathize with them.

All three voice levels involve parental control over the behavior of their son or daughter. Children should gradually enter a life of vivid emotions under the sensitive guidance of adults whom they trust.

Psychological advice for developing empathy in a child

In this regard, experts recommend that parents be patient. It is much easier to educate a child to be hardworking and precise. Compassion refers to the ability to hear with the heart, which is not given to every human being.

Psychologists have developed the following advice for parents who want to grow from a child’s personality with a fine mental structure:

  • Educating Compassion for Animals … At the first signs of aggression in a child, it is necessary to direct their energy into a peaceful path. Experts say that a child’s relationship with representatives of wildlife develops in the child a sense of responsibility and empathy with all living things. Especially good in this case are dogs that are distinguished by their loyalty to the owner and easily get in touch with children. Although cats show their independence, they can also attach themselves to their owner. If it is impossible to keep a large animal at home, a hamster, turtle, parrot, or fish are recommended. At the same time, it is important to invite your child to make friends with a new pet, give it a nickname and take care of it. If an animal is sick, it is important to involve a son or daughter in caring for it.
  • Focusing on the child’s important matters … Parents should become wise counselors for the child and coordinate their awareness properly. To develop empathy, psychologists recommend inviting your child to feed and build bird feeders in the garden. At the same time, it is necessary to discuss the question of how difficult it is for them during the winter season. Together with your child, you can collect parcels for children in orphanages, emphasizing the importance of compassion in people’s lives. If parents with the child on the playground saw one of the children fall and cry, this situation should be discussed. He struck, it hurts very much for him, pity you, offer to play together – the main sentences that should be presented to the child.
  • Discussion of fiction … When reading fairy tales or poems, it is recommended to analyze each situation. If we take for example Earshot’s work “The Little Humpbacked Horse”, you can actually find many topics to discuss. During the reading, one should stop and ask questions such as “that he was called a fool?”, “Why did the magic horse help the main character?”
  • Tactical training … Sometimes words can hurt another person so much that he will remember the insult for the rest of his life. Toddlers do not always understand that some things are not said out loud. There is no need to blame them for this because that is not how empathy should be formed. It is necessary to calmly explain to the child that this aunt was very upset when he called her fat.
  • Using the Proverbs … You cannot talk to a small child for long because he simply does not understand the essence of the claim he is making. It is necessary to point out to him briefly his mistakes. The phrase “do not torture the cat, it hurts” will come to mind of a bad person more than a long lecture in the style of animal rights activists.
  • Possibility of compromise … Children often exchange toys, which is very frustrating for their parents. Their dissatisfaction is understandable because trade is not always equal. However, there are some nuances in the child’s desire to share the toy. If one of the children in front of his eyes breaks a favorite object and cries bitterly, then there is no need to stop your child’s encouragement to give the injured child his catch.
  • Draw analogies … It is necessary to invite the child to introduce himself to the person who has been offended, or to the injured animal. A similar method of exposure to children is suitable for offspring older than 3 years. At this age, they will already be able to express their feelings about the planned disruptive situation.

Exercises to develop empathy in a child

It should be noted that when choosing games for a child it is necessary to take into account his age. Everything that will have a positive effect on a child is not suitable for older children.

 Developing empathy in children
Developing empathy in children

Games for toddlers from birth to 1 year

Some parents mistakenly believe that at this age it is only necessary to monitor the child’s health. To some extent, this reasoning is reasonable, but psychologists are of a different opinion.

For example, the basics of empathy for a child in the first year of his life, he should take the following courses with him:

  • Replacement of eyes … The child hardly has time to open his eyes and involuntarily tries to focus his eyes on the human face. This desire must be used to reach the child. It is necessary to engage in mutual contact more often so that the newborn, at the level of consciousness, feel the love of his or her parents.
  • Apply to crumbs … By day 2; the child clearly understands that he is talking to him. He responds by squeezing his fists, yawning, and making short noises. Psychologists advise you to contact your child as often as possible during this period.
  • Skin contact … The best pediatricians in the world say that it is not possible to treat a child by carrying it in his arms. It is with such contact with the mother that the crumb begins to build trust in the world around him. In this case, the massage on the back and heels, which must be done before the baby’s sleep, will not hurt.
  • Parable … Even by changing the same wet slide, a child can be taught to recognize different human emotions. You can arrange the dressing process in a sad, humorous, grotesque, and philosophical style. In this case, you must use all your skills.
  • Exercise “Ku-Ku” … When teasing a toddler, parents need to hide from him and then show up unexpectedly. At first, he will experience lively emotions in the form of dad and mom leaving him and joy when they return. After a while, the child will understand that Dad and Mom will never leave him.

Games for children 1-3 years

At this age, you can already start teaching your child to identify people’s emotional states. To do this, it is recommended to perform the following exercises:

  • Talking feelings … There is no need to fence the child with a stone wall. It is necessary to report aloud your physical and moral condition. At the same time, children should also describe the effects they have recently experienced in color response. Such a play on words should become a family tradition so that the child understands the importance of the feelings of another person, who is also able to listen to him.
  • Hidden Game … Unlike playing “Ku-Ku”, this fun involves finding another parent or a lost toy. In this case, the child should be given clues in the form of “your machine can not find its way back but it can be under the table.” At the same time, the child not only focuses on his own emotions but also, under the guidance of adults, tries to deal with mistrust in the world around him.
  • Emotions recognition … In this case, parents need to collect academic material. Design by N. Belopolskaya and M. Lebedeva in the form of books “Is Mom Happy?” and “The ABCs of Developing Child’s Emotions.”

Training exercises for children 3-5 years

At this age, it is time to enter the world of people and their relationships. Compassion for preschoolers should develop through the following games:

  • “Guess Me” … With this entertainment, it is necessary to organize the presence of family friends and their offspring. The child needs to close his eyes and ask to know his friends by voice, based on their special speech. Such a game not only helps children to have fun but also to find the voice of loved ones with intuition and heart.
  • Smile differently” … This entertainment has great potential for developing empathy in a child. Little dreamers need to express with the help of their smile at the meeting, dissatisfaction with the frustration they have experienced, compassion for the sick, and encouragement for those in trouble.
  • “Give Good Words” … When doing this exercise, parents should ask their children to say something good about them. In response, Mom and Dad should be commended. The essence of this method of influence is that children will be able to understand how pleasant it is not only to feel kindness in their speech but also to give it in return.
  • Original greetings” … To develop contacts with people in a child, psychologists recommend putting such a game in the order of each family. As a comedian, you can invite the child to kiss his mother on the cheek in a meeting, take his father’s hand, rub his nose with his sister (brother) and “give five” to the older generation.
  • Ask a question” … The essence of this method is that the child needs to learn about the scenario of each of the family members. It is very important to point out to him that the answers will be different. During this time, children should understand that even loved ones can disagree. This will help them in the future not to criticize potential opponents from the bottom up.

Compassionate games for preschoolers

At just over 5 years of age, it can be stated that the period of life has passed only by one’s own desires and needs.

Now is the time to begin the third stage of development of compassion in the child as follows:

  • “ABC of the Mood” … This emotional and communication game from N. Belopolskaya will help children from 5 to 10 years to control their emotions and see other people’s emotions. 36 cards with different pictures will help the child realize all the negative effects of such feelings towards other people such as aggression and dissatisfaction. This gives children the opportunity to identify a feeling like joy.
  • “Guess the mood” … In this game, the child needs to look at the faces of relatives and friends and express their thoughts about their emotional state. In response, he must be given a conclusion as to the validity of his conclusions or for no reason.
  • “Think as we are” … The essence of this exercise is for the child to put himself in place of things. The Christmas tree was cut down at the turn of the year – how is it? The flower was picked and thrown away – is it offensive to him? The cat was pulled by the tail – did he deserve it?
  • “Actual gift” … Parents should invite their child to bring a gift for each person they know. At the same time, it is necessary to explain to the son or daughter why he chose this particular item for a particular person.
  • “Give magic” … You should constantly remind your offspring that he is capable of real miracles. We can say that his smile helps Grandma Stop being sick and helping around the house makes Mom smile.

Leave a Comment