8+1 ways to teach empathy

Empathy is a soft skill shaped by genetics (to a small extent) but primarily shaped by factors such as context and environment. It can be developed through our interaction with others. Children who feel safe and loved are more sensitive and adept at understanding others’ emotions. 

Children with empathy:

  • Understand others’ emotions and recognize their own
  • Step into others’ shoes and imagine how someone may feel
  • Consider actions that could make someone feel better
  • Demonstrate compassion

How can our children learn to develop their empathy?

  1. Encourage role-playing where kids learn to regulate their emotions and cooperate. Recognizing and managing their emotions is a crucial step towards empathy.
  2. Encourage both boys and girls to play with toys such as baby dolls through which they learn to be affectionate and compassionate. Activities such as dressing, feeding and calming the dolls, develop skills such as caring, sharing and socializing.
  3. Allow them (kids) to spend valuable time with toddlers, pets and animals so as to discover how they express their emotions in unfiltered ways.
  4. Read books, encourage them to ask questions about the characters and their adventures and discuss openly about things that may be bothering them.
  5. Teach them to observe others (people and animals), read facial expressions, body language and other non verbal emotional Indications, also show them relevant images or videos.
  6. Highlighting the importance of listening to others, understanding the emotions of those who are more vulnerable, in an unfamiliar place, or different from them. Emphasize the importance of community, so that the children expand their world. 
  7. Give children simple ideas for action, such as standing by someone who is being mocked,  or defending a suffering animal, etc.
  8. Be a role model!
Family in a autumn park. Mother in a pink shirt and blue jeans jacket. Cute little girl

+1. Find out more and support OMU’s initiative to introduce the innovative #Eimaste1 in primary school education. These lesson plans, based on ACTAsia’s Caring for Life Education Programme,  develop children’s social-emotional intelligence and critical thinking towards humans, animals and the environment.

#Eimaste1 (or “Caring for Life Education”) has already been successfully implemented in China and Pakistan, with a positive impact on students, parents and the school environment. The six-year curriculum has already been translated and adapted to Greek. In 2022, OMU ran an introductory online seminar with over 600 participating teachers from the EEPEK network, as well as five online training webinars for the first 60 who signed up, in the hope that the trainings will provide the foundations for #Eimaste1 in Greece.

Help us introduce #Eimaste1 in Greek schools! Donate here or sign here

Learn more about #Eimaste1 here. Share our news on your social media!

A world of empathy is a beautiful world!