Some kids just have no empathy!
Well, yeah. What do you do to make Kids empathetic?
Everyone looked at me.
Well…..that’s a good question for an early childhood educator and I guess that’s me! Hmm.. tough one to answer on the spot, though.
When it boils right down to it, there are a lot of prerequisites to creating real empathy so it’s kind of hard to know just where to start. OK, let’s try birth. I think it’s good to look at the entire lifespan whenever trying to figure out why things happen the way they do.
So, starting at day one, here’s one key sentence I want to tell people who care for Kids about nurturing empathy. It’s just 3 little words to remember.
If you care for anyone in any way shape or form in your life, and you want them to care for others, please put these three little words on your refrigerator door immediately. Drum roll please……the words are......
There you are!
Everyone wants to be noticed, to be heard, to make a small difference.
Yep, that’s the way it starts. Notice them. Eye contact.
There you are!
When an infant is under two months old they spend a lot of time getting themselves together enough to focus on something. When that happens you want to be there for them to share their silent victory. At that moment, you make eye contact. It’s meaningful.
There you are!
Say it out loud and think about it as much as you can. Noticing is everything when it comes to creating empathetic Kids. We want them to notice other people and their struggles don’t we? They learn by copying us so if we want them to notice others, we have to be very careful about the ways in which we notice them.
Think about how often we get busy with other things and forget about our Kids, especially when they’re playing peacefully. If we forget so easily when they’re peaceful and content playing, maybe they will have to create some havoc just to make an emotional spark.
When caring for very young Kids as well as older kids and adults, we can purposely make that spark when they’re happy. We can look at them until they look up at us and say with some excitement, “There you are! You’re grabbing your toes! Your building with your block set! I see you! I see you doing you homework, making an effort, helping your friends, etc.”
That’s so much better than saying “Look at me!” sternly after they misbehave so we can give them a piece of our minds.
So care enough to notice them in caring empathetic ways and they will notice others.
Sounds simple but we all probably know that it’s not that easy to do, especially when we’re sick, tired, stressed or depressed. Research at the UW Madison shows that depressed Moms don’t make nearly enough eye contact with their infants. But they can learn to do so more by watching videos of themselves and their infants interacting and becoming aware.
I’ve made it my personal mission in life to care for children and also to care for the people who care for them. Don Miguel Ruiz tells us in his book The Four Agreements to always try our best. When we’re sick it’ll be different than when we’re healthy.
I want to encourage caregivers to get as healthy as they possibly can through balancing
so they can give their best to the ones they care for.
Are you a caregiver who needs to care more for yourself? Stick around, I’ve got lots of good stuff to share. I’ve already created a gluten free, sugar free, vegan wonder food that will keep you satisfied for hours with all sorts of good nutrition, protein and plant fats called Joy!
But I’m even more excited about the book I just published on Amazon. It’s called The Book of Keto Joy! In it you'll learn how to make your own Joy!, reduce your appetite, lose weight and gain energy.