Teaching empathy to kids

Learn about: Teaching empathy to kids from Michele Borba, EdD,...
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Teaching empathy to kids

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One of my biggest concerns right now is, we are seeing a breakdown of our children's empathy. We are also seeing bullying starting in our children at a far young age. Here's what we need to do: We need to be intentional about enhancing our children's empathy development because we know that our kids are actually hardwired at birth to be empathic. How do you do that? Simple. When our children are two and they crawl up in our lap, we begin to talk about feelings and emotions. When we are reading books, "Look at Sally. She seems happy. Make your face look happy." Why? Because if kids have words for empathy, they are more likely to see it in another. Second, point out the moment when your child is caring. "I like how you were so sweet and how nice you were to Grandma." Go one step more and point out the reaction. "Did you see the smile on her face? Caring makes you feel so good inside." The third thing is, use a formula. It's so simple, but it's powerful. It's called, "Feels plus needs." It actually helps your child feel empathy. Any time your child sees someone hurt or maybe they've been hurt themselves, or they was the one that was the hurter; say, "How would you feel if that happened to you?" What would you need and what does the other person need to feel better.

Learn about: Teaching empathy to kids from Michele Borba, EdD,...

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Michele Borba, EdD

Educational Psychologist

Michele Borba, EdD is a Today Show contributor and recipient of the National Educator Award. She is recognized for her practical, solution-based parenting strategies and is an expert of bullying. Michele is the author of 22 books including Building Moral Intelligence and No More Misbehavin’. She appears as an expert on shows such as Dr. Phil, The View, and CNN and is an advisory board member for Parentsmagazine. 

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