Teaching children to be empathetic is one of the goals at Triangle Montessori Academy. Empathy is the ability to emotionally connect with another person by understanding and sharing their feelings. It can be considered one of the most important characteristics of social behavior and is something that should be taught early on in childhood.
Why Empathy is Important
The ability to reciprocate feelings is an important social and emotional skill, for people of all ages.
For parents, empathy can be a highly effective teaching tool. Having empathy can maintain an emotionally positive environment in the household that is conducive to child-development. Being empathetic with your children also helps them learn to love and trust you more deeply, allowing for better communication.
For children, practicing empathy can help them become more aware of their own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. Not only does this help children control their own emotions more effectively, it also assists in creating and maintaining healthy relationships.
Empathy in 3 Steps
Teach your children to follow these 3 steps to empathy by modeling it when interacting with them:
Recognize: Take a moment to recognize what your child is feeling. This initial emotional connection with your child shows them that you’re on their side, not against them.
Define: Find out where the emotion is coming from by starting a dialogue with your child. This will let your child know that you are ready to listen to their feelings and that you understand them.
Solve: Offer a solution with your child’s emotional well-being in mind. If something must be done to improve your child’s feelings, give suggestions and ask if your child would be willing to do them.
At this point, your child will be more open to changing behavior if necessary because you have established your intentions to help and understand them using empathy. Practicing at Home Practice makes perfect when it comes to empathy. At home, it is important to lead by example. Be empathetic in any scenario that applies. If your child is excited, ask them why and decide if praise or celebration is in order. If your child is sad, be open to talking about it and offer solutions to make them feel better. It’s all about communicating with your child frequently. Talking and listening to your child, and being empathetic with them, can greatly help their emotional and social growth. Following the three steps of practicing empathy, and teaching them to your child, can make a world of difference in the long run.
Triangle Montessori Academy is a Cary preschool emphasizing art, mathematics, practical life, Spanish, yoga, meditation, and music. The private, year-round school was founded in 2008 and accepts children from 18 months old up to six years old. The school is a member of the American Montessori Society and all teachers are AMS-certified. Students at the school are exposed to Montessori-style teaching approaches, including individual learning according to each child’s style and pace, multi-age classrooms that allow children to advance when they are ready, and a nurturing of students’ natural curiosity.
For more information, call 919.463.7770, or visit our Website at www.trianglemontessori.org.