This month, the theme in our house is empathy. I am greatly inspired by my #currentread : Unselfie by Michele Borba, which is geared towards helping parents raise empathic children. I gathered some picture book recommendations from this book that are geared towards fostering empathy in younger kids and put them on hold at our library. I picked these up from the library a couple of days ago and already read a few of them to my boys. I have been asking questions and gently encouraging them to identify feelings, take the perspectives of various characters in these books, etc. It’s amazing to see how much they know already! .
Teaching empathy to younger children starts with teaching them self regulation skills first. There are a couple of books in this stack that are geared towards this as well. In fact, teaching self regulation is the biggest challenge that I face with my four year olds at the moment. So, I can never have enough books on this subject.
I am thankful that Michele Borba’s Unselfie came to me during the holiday season. It’s a perfect month to learn and practice empathy. Empathy cannot be taught by lecturing or nagging or labeling our kids as entitled for not showing empathy. I am saying this because I see this happening all around me. Empathy can be taught only by modeling it to our kids constantly (eg: showing empathy when our kids make mistakes as opposed to punishing them), by making it a core family value and reinforcing it at every opportunity. Books are a great way to accomplish this because my kids are always interested in a good story. I would think that most kids are wired in this way. I will try to post reviews of the books that we really liked from this stack as and when I am able to.