Have you ever experienced a moment in which a child expresses empathy and understanding for others?
For some reason, I tend to be surprised when a child displays empathy, even though I know I shouldn’t be! It happens time and time again, and of course children are capable of showing an incredible amount of understanding to peers and loved ones.
In fact, if we let them, children can become the most empathetic caretakers of their home and school environments. An example that comes to my mind is in connection with a food allergy.
One child in a classroom of 30 had a severe allergy to nuts. When he first joined this classroom the teachers were educated on how to help keep this child safe and healthy.
Instead of keeping this information to themselves, the teachers decided to make this a community responsibility and informed the entire classroom on how to help their newest member thrive.
The children took to this information with gusto! They made sure to remind their parents, “Is there peanut butter in my lunch? I shouldn’t have peanut butter.” and had conversations often about what constituted a member of the “nut” family.
The children’s respect for their new friend’s food allergy demonstrated that they were able to fully understand what was at stake, and further, they WANTED to help their new friend.
The takeaway is that children respect the needs of others if you make it a community responsibility. Whether it’s food allergies or physical needs, share HOW to respect each member of your community and your child will love being a part of the process.
Do you have experiences of a child showing empathy and understanding for their peers? Share with us in Chat!
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