Pool bags and wet swim suits will soon be replacing backpacks and homework! Parents everywhere are giving a big sigh of relief to get a break form the hustle and bustle of the school year. As the year winds down and we look back it is easy to see the changes in our children. They are a little bigger, learned a little more and have become a little more independent! We focus so much on the importance of school but we often forget the significant learnings of the early years. In fact these early learnings can boost our children’s capabilities to succeed in school.
One of the most important discoveries our children make at a young age is one we don’t really observe and often over look. That is, when they realize that their “inner world,” what they think and feel, can be different from what other people think and feel. This early-discovery will become the basis of their sensitivity to and ability to take the perspective of another. And that is the root of empathy. The more children are aware of their “inner world” they become better in managing their “outer world” of relationships. And as it turns out, research tells us that there’s a lot we can do as parents to help them build awareness of their thoughts and feelings.
We can help shape our child’s ability to “get along” with others simply by practicing mind-talk! Mind-talk helps your child understand their own internal world (their mind) and recognize that all of our internal worlds are different. Everyone’s experiences shape their interactions and understanding this can hold the key to your child’s ability to relate to others, get along with peers, and build empathy.
Mind- talk Tips
• Use I think, I feel statements
• Ask what your child thinks and feel
• When watching T.V. or reading a book ask what the characters are thinking and feelings
• Remind your child throughout the day about other people in their life that might working or at school
Check out this video to see what you can do to help your child begin to understand another’s perspective and build empathy!
Don’t forget to check out the Growing Sound website for songs that help children connect positively to their emotions.
These parent tips are brought to you through our partnership with the Research to Practice Team at Children, Inc. (CI). Children, Inc. is a 37 year-old non-profit who is a national leader in innovative early childhood education. The Research to Practice Team at CI is made up of child development specialists and educators who translate important research breakthroughs into practical strategies for parents and teachers.