Empathy is the ability to understand an experience from their perspective. We sometimes talk about feeling for someone or getting where they’re coming from – that’s our empathy in action. Empathy can seem simple, but it is like a muscle that needs to be trained. Empathy is taught and it’s important to a child’s overall social emotional well-being as they connect with others.
Research shows that reading picture books with children nurtures their empathy skills. Stories are a natural way to put a child into the perspective of a character. The situations that characters face and the way they solve problems are a great way to talk with your child about the feelings of others. Stories give your child a model for behavior when they or friends face similar situations in their own lives. Also, reading about various cultures teaches your child to respect cultures different from their own.
Join us this month as we explore how to use reading to boost your child’s empathy – an important tool for their success in school and life.
This topic is a key component of the following early learning domain and goals from the State of Alaska Early Learning Guidelines:
Social & Emotional Development
- Children develop positive relationships with other children
- Children demonstrate awareness of behavior and its effects
- Children demonstrate empathy for other
- Children demonstrate awareness and appreciation of their own and others’ cultures