Recently, some our our teachers attended a conference on self-regulation and empathy with field expert Bob Sornson of the Early Learning Foundation. The following resource to develop empathy in the home and classroom was shared with our teachers, which we wanted to pass along to you.
1. Start with safety and security. Fear interferes with the development of empathy. Learn to set limits in the home or classroom with respect and love.
2. Regular family or classroom routines build a sense of predictable security for children. Well established routines also help children practice self-regulation skills.
3. Self-regulation skills are the foundation for empathy. By learning to calm themselves, regulate emotions, delay gratification, persevere, and stay focused on the right things, children develop the skills which allow them to look beyond themselves.
4. Model empathy. Notice the lives of others. Talk about your experiences of using empathy and about the times you forgot to act with empathy.
5. Tell stories that help kids see the world from the perspective of others.
6. Read great children’s literature with your kids. Great books draw children into the lives of the characters and help them learn to see the world differently.
7. Notice the feelings of your children. Talk about these feelings. Help children learn to use words to describe their inner experiences.
8. Relationships matter. Help kids build relationships which inspire them to trust and care for others.