How do you explain empathy to a child? Use these 4 steps

by Micah Liam
explain empathy to a child

How do you explain empathy to a child? Empathy is something that a lot of people are good at. It’s easy to feel bad for an employee who has a hard time taking care of their kids, or to be angry when a colleague isn’t given a promotion they deserve. It’s much more difficult to turn that empathy into action.

Empathy is the cornerstone of our philosophy, and it’s impossible to do good in the world without knowing what people are going through. Parents need to teach their kids how to be more empathic and how to use that empathy to come up with good solutions. That is one of major part of parenting.

Parents, too, benefit from the teaching empathy. It’s not just for kids, though. When parents show their kids how to help other people, they’re likely to see more ways to do the same in their own lives and at their businesses.

When you help people get their power to give, you have a group of people who can work in this world.

explain empathy to a child
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The four-step process for explain empathy to a child

When you explain empathy to a child, you can start by thinking about an everyday situation to help you understand how the four-step process works. Because a young child just hit his younger brother on the head. As well as making him angry, this situation could be a good time for him to learn how to live with empathy for the good of everyone.

In step one,

Ask your child to think about how the way they feel influences the way they act.

Get your son to think about his emotions and how they affect what he does. People might say things like, “You must have been really angry when you did that.”

In step two      

Ask your child to think about how another person feels.

“How do you think your brother felt when you did that?”

In step three   

Ask your child to think about how the other person responded to the story you told them.

“Why do you think he did this?”

In step four     

Ask your child to come up with ideas for how to make things better.

“What should we do now?”

Use this four-step process not only when kids do something bad, but also when they do something right. Few hours later, if he does something nice for the postman, say, “I’m really proud of you.” Then, go through the process all over again.

How empathy leads to action

As children get older, the questions and scenarios get more complicated. The four-step process still works, but the questions and scenarios get more complicated with age. So, explain empathy to a child is more wealthy for both parents and child.

how to explain empathy to a children
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This is an example:

A 12-year-old child who is upset about how the children of immigrants are treated when they come home.

As a first step, say something like, “I’m really proud of you for noticing that there was something wrong.”

In the next step, ask questions that help them think about how they can help solve the problem on their own, too.

Remind yourself to be supportive: “Oh, that’s a pretty good idea. Why don’t you get your friends together and do this?”

In the long run, parents set their kids up for success by letting them know they can help other people even when they are young.

You have to fight against the urge to get involved personally, or let other adults’ lead. This is the hardest and most important part of this exercise!

Do not take over, don’t let his brother to take over, don’t let some teacher to take over. It’s his dream, his team, he changed world that needs to happen. That’s what this is all about. So, explain empathy to a child is one thing that parents to be proud of.

All of this is aimed at making both kids and parents “changemakers,” not social entrepreneurs, but people who feel empowered to solve problems and speak up for the common good. In the workplace, this could be anything from coming up with new ways to make products more accessible to disabled people to coming up with new ways to keep employees excited about their jobs.

“If my son has this power, what about me?” just think!

Explain empathy to a child is good investment for his life. So be a proud parents.

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