Teaching Your Child To Empathise With Others

Empathy is a fundamental human trait that allows us to understand and share the feelings of others. It’s a skill that can be nurtured and developed, starting from childhood. As parents, fostering empathy in our children is crucial in shaping them into compassionate and understanding individuals. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to teach your child to empathise with others.

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Lead by Example

Independent primary schools in Kent say that children learn by observing and imitating. Model empathy in your interactions with others. Show kindness, understanding, and compassion in your everyday interactions, whether it’s with family members, friends, or even strangers. Your actions and words serve as powerful examples for your child.

Encourage Perspective-Taking

Help your child understand different perspectives by encouraging them to consider how others might feel in various situations. Ask questions like, “How would you feel if that happened to you?” or “What do you think your friend is feeling right now?” This encourages them to see things from someone else’s point of view.

Teach Active Listening

Listening is a crucial aspect of empathy. Teach your child the importance of active listening by maintaining eye contact, paying attention, and responding thoughtfully when someone is speaking. Encourage them to ask questions and express genuine interest in understanding others’ feelings and experiences.

Read Books and Watch Movies that Promote Empathy

Engage your child with stories and movies that highlight diverse experiences and emotions. Discuss the characters’ feelings, motivations, and actions. This helps children relate to different situations and emotions, fostering empathy and understanding.

Encourage Acts of Kindness

Engage in activities that promote kindness and empathy, such as volunteering, donating to charity, or helping a neighbour. Encourage your child to perform small acts of kindness regularly, reinforcing the value of caring for others.

Address Conflicts and Emotions

Use conflicts or disagreements as teaching moments. Guide your child through resolving conflicts peacefully and understanding the emotions involved. Encourage them to express their feelings and consider the feelings of others involved in the situation.

Provide a Safe Environment for Expression

Create an environment where your child feels comfortable expressing their emotions. Validate their feelings and help them articulate their emotions. This fosters emotional intelligence, which is closely tied to empathy.

Set Limits on Media Exposure

Monitor your child’s exposure to media and digital devices. Some content may desensitise or hinder the development of empathy. Encourage them to engage in activities that promote face-to-face interactions and understanding of real-life emotions.

Praise Empathetic Behaviour

Acknowledge and praise your child when they demonstrate empathy or kindness towards others. Positive reinforcement reinforces these behaviours.


In conclusion, teaching empathy is an ongoing process that involves consistent guidance, modelling, and reinforcement. By instilling empathy in your child, you’re equipping them with a valuable skill that extends beyond personal relationships and contributes to a more compassionate and understanding society. Start early, be patient, and watch your child grow into a caring and empathetic individual.


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