This month’s Wellness Works explores the theme of empathy
January 7, 2022
Empathy is about being able to consider what someone else may be going through and imagining how they might be feeling or thinking.
This month we are exploring the theme of EMPATHY with students as a part of their mental health skill building. It is about walking in another person’s shoes – about listening to another perspective non-judgmentally. It’s about voicing our understanding of their emotions and validating them. It’s about recognizing the humanity of others and challenging ourselves to be present. Empathy is often the first step toward compassionate action and helping others.
Empathy is important because when we have it we:
- Are more likely to treat people the way they wish you would treat them
- You will better understand the needs of people around you
- You will more clearly understand the perception you create in others with your words and actions
- You will better understand other people’s needs
Here are some activities you can do at home to reflect and build on empathy:
- Help younger children understand how to recognize emotions so they are better able to understand how others may be feeling. You can draw “feeling faces” or take pictures of family members with different feeling faces. Or take turns role-playing different emotions (what would you look like if someone knocked down your LEGO? Found a puppy? Etc.)
- You can take turns coming up with situations or scenarios and have each family member share how that would make them feel. It’s important for all of us to remember that how we may feel is not always how other’s feel
- Encourage your child/ren to consider how others may experience certain situations. For instance, if they came home excited about a presentation they really felt good about, celebrate with them and then ask them to consider how the student who didn’t present so well may be feeling. Or how the “new” student in the class may feel?
- Help you child understand that different people have different things available to them, different experiences in the world, different interests and different struggles
- If you are reading to your child, stop and ask how different characters may be feeling in the story. How do the character’s different behaviours and choices tell us information about how they may be feeling?
- Designate a wall to share ideas/thoughts/pictures about empathy as a family and reflect on it together