Teaching Empathy in School

teaching empathy in schools

A big change in the school’s curriculum over the last ten years is adding in the process of teaching empathy to kids. While some parents and teachers believe it’s a waste of time in the day, others have seen the positive effects of taking that time out of their day to explicitly teach how to be empathetic to their students. 

This YouTube video is a pretty well-known video, as it’s been out for a few years. However, I think it’s a great reminder no matter how many times you’ve watched it! 

I noticed firsthand how well modeling empathy works as I watched my 4-year-old daughter sit on the steps with her crying friend. She placed her hand on her friend’s shoulder, sat in the sound of her cries for a time, and eventually said, “This made you really sad, I am here for you.” 

My four-year-old had just displayed better empathetic skills than I ever have and I was blown away! But upon pondering why she was so incredible at handling the situation at such a young age, I came to the conclusion that she has an army of great examples all around her teaching empathy, being myself, her grandparents, her teachers, and more! 

After this encounter with my daughter, it really made me stand on the side of teaching empathy in schools and how important it can look. Because what would have been the alternative to her not showing empathy? Her friend would have been crying on the stairs and my daughter would have reacted in a way that included saying things like, “Stop crying, it’s time to play!” or, “Sorry you’re sad, that sucks for you.” and it would have dismissed her friend’s feelings, causing more sadness and hurt. But instead, she recognized the feelings in her friend and sat in sadness with her for as long as it took. 

I can’t see why the alternative would have been a better way for her to react than using her skills to show empathy would have been. So, yes. I do stand on the side of teaching empathy in schools. And yes, it will take more time and effort on everyone’s part. But what results would come from it? In extreme cases, it can save a life. 

What are your thoughts on teaching empathy in schools? 

Gift Giving For Kids: The Benefits, Even When It’s Hard

Gift giving for kids: The benefits

Every Christmas, birthday, and other gift-giving holidays I drag my kids to the store to help them pick out gifts for friends, teachers, siblings, and more. 

Maybe saying “I drag my kids” is the wrong way to phrase this. More like… “My kids drag me” to the store. I know it’s important and such a great learning moment for my kids, but let’s be honest, it’s hard! And a lot of work on the parent’s end. So why do we do it?? Why don’t we just buy the gift on our own time and slap their name on it? 

Because there’s no learning in doing it that way. 

It is hard and a lot of work to take the time to teach our kids the value and benefit of gift-giving, but they learn so much from it. 

Like genuine love for another person. 

And that others have needs that they can help meet. 

They learn empathy through gift-giving. 

And how to genuinely care for someone else. 

It gives them a chance to think about and ponder the person they want to get a gift for. 

It brings out the happiness in them that you can only get when giving gifts. 

Their confidence is given a boost as well when they watch the receiver open the gift. 

And it teaches them grace and proper reactions for their own gift receiving. 

This list is just a small amount of what goes on in the process of gift-giving with kids, so of course, it’s worth it! Maybe this list is more for me, but hopefully when you’re in the trenches of Target trying to settle on a good gift for your children’s grandparents, just remember the lessons they are learning are absolutely priceless and will stay with them through the rest of their lives.