I hear a lot of talk about empathy or the lack of it these days.
One phenomenal way to easily increase empathy during early childhood is through reading or telling stories and talking about emotions in close physical contact with your child. I call this laptime.
Laptime is time spent reading or talking about emotions. It's time spent together, looking at books or magazines, reading and speculating how characters, ourselves, or others in the world might feel.
t's also chatting about facial, body, and language expressions that help us know what others are experiencing outside of ourselves. It's based on this premise that all feelings are OK, all actions (and words) are not.
Laptime is a time for questioning and wondering about human interaction in the presence of a non-judgmental and trusted person. It's an awesome way to teach emotions to kids ages 0-8+. And it's information they'll need when it comes to talking about bullies. They'll eventually need to be able to "read" people well in the world they'll be growing up in.
Start by talking about their feelings, Then talk about your own, before you start talking about others
One more thing about laptime. Have fun and be dramatic. Kids really appreciate it. Think of it as your 10 minutes of fame!
Nanci J Bradley is an early childhood and family educator, author, teacher, family aerobics instructor, and an all-around fun-loving person. She believes in the power of sleep, healthy eating, lifelong learning, and most of all, PLAY! She studied early childhood ed at Triton College and received her BS in education in 1986 from NIU. She received her MA in human development from Pacific Oaks College in
2010. She lives and teaches in Madison WI.