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Teaching empathy? This might sound strange to anyone as most people assume it’s a personality trait that some people are born with, and others lack. But empathy isn’t a quality innate in people. It isn’t something that unfolds automatically, in every situation. Parents want their children to learn how to share, take others’ perspectives, and value other people’s opinions.

Here are a few parenting tips on raising an empathetic child:

Share and talk about emotions

Kids can’t empathize with what others are feeling if they don’t know how to express what they feel. As your child goes through his day, make sure to point out which emotions he/she might be feeling, and also which ones you’re feeling.

 Role model

The most important aspect of teaching empathy is to provide a good role model to your kid. When your child sees his/her parent taking the time to talk politely to a waiter/ showing respect to another’s opinion, your child learn to respond to conflicts this way.

Recognize Kindness

When you watch your kid offering a friend some food or sharing a toy, draw your attention to it by saying, “That was very kind of you to give her a few when you didn’t have very many.” This recognition will encourage your child to repeat the action.

Talk about diversity

This is a complex issue: Talk about how different people have different upbringing and backgrounds , and may not look like the many people your child knows. Highlighting differences and similarities will help your child relate to other person.

Wondering how your child fares on the skills shared in this article? On the Mai app, you can assess these skills, along with getting daily activities which your child can do to improve each of these skills.

Download Mai

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