Why Teaching Empathy is Important
Most baby seals learn to swim on their own, but not baby Weddell seals; baby Weddell seals are born with the ability to swim however, they won’t really know how to swim until an older seal shows them. The same is true for empathy in kids!
Kids are hard-wired for empathy but they won’t be able to swim with empathy in the sea of life until someone shows them how.
Empathy is a big word. At first it seems simple, right? When we hear it, we think of putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes (or flippers, if you’re a seal). But when we really dive into it, empathy can mean so many things.
Empathy can be feeling someone’s pain (ouch!) but it can also be feeling their joy when they’re happy or when they’ve done something they’re really proud of - - like learning to swim!
Overall, empathy really means having awareness of ourselves and others, and meeting everyone right where they are, with kindness and curiosity (and maybe some goldfish snacks).
At its core, the impact of empathy in kids is truly limitless. Empathic kids grow up to be empathetic adults, which helps create a world where each person can show up as their own true self. Additionally, empathy reduces the likelihood of bullying and promotes curiosity and confidence as kids navigate diverse perspectives and experiences.
Empathy is an ongoing, work-in-progress that combines emotional and cognitive experiences, and everyone learns about empathy at their own pace and place. By meeting kids where they are and modeling empathy in our daily lives, we can help cultivate the next generation of curious, courageous and kind humans!
Teaching empathy with hands-on activities is a fantastic way to collaborate and connect their real-life experiences of kindness and empathy with art and visualization. With that in mind, we’ve gathered three hands-on activities you can do at home to help kids explore the sea of empathy. Grab some floaties and let’s jump in!
EDMO is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing equitable access to out-of-school learning experiences for kids. We offer summer day camps, virtual tutoring and mentoring, and after-school programs with curriculum focused on educating the whole child.