Bellview Focuses on Emapthy & Compassion in December
Empathy and Compassion-
Good for the heart and good for the head!
In our social skills lessons this past month we have been focusing on learning about and practicing empathy. We
teach our students that empathy is “feeling or understanding what someone else is feeling”. “Research shows
that young children with higher levels of empathy tend to be less aggressive, better liked, more socially
skilled, and make greater academic gains than children with lower levels of empathy” (Second Step review of
Here is a quick overview of some great ways you can support your child with this critical social skill:
1. Identifying feelings‐ We can tell what someone is feeling by paying attention to physical (face and
body) and situational clues. Encourage your children to be “social detectives” and figure out what
others are feeling in day‐to‐day life and while looking at photographs, reading stories or watching
2. Understanding Perspectives‐ People have different feelings about the same thing and‐their feelings can
change. Notice examples in your own home…how somebody loves soup and somebody finds it
disgusting, how someone thinks an image is scary and another thinks it is hysterical. Respecting others’
perspectives is essential to healthy, flexible friendships.
3. Accepting Differences‐ Accepting differences and finding similarities helps us be more respectful and
less likely to tease and use put‐downs. Help your child identify ways differences and similarities make all
of us unique and our lives more interesting.
4. Accidents Happen‐ When we do something hurtful (physically or emotionally) or unsafe but it is “not
on purpose”, it is an “accident”. Coach your child through this sequence: 1) “I’m sorry, are you ok?” 2)
“That was an accident” 3) Offer help if possible.
5. Showing Compassion‐ Showing care and concern for someone is “putting empathy into action”. Notice
and praise your child’s words and actions that demonstrate compassion at home, school and in the
community. Talk about how these gestures fill all of us with good feelings and a sense of connection and
6. Making Conversation‐ Making conversation is essential to making and keeping friends‐especially as
children get older. Model and teach good conversation skills with these quick tips: 1) Pick a topic 2) Ask
questions‐who, what, why, how, when, where….3) Make comments
7. Actively listen‐ eye contact, head nodding.
Joining In‐Being assertive can help you join in and invite others to join the group. Coach your child to
join activities of interest using the following steps: 1) Move close to the person or group 2) Observe, try
to guess what they are doing/playing 3) Wait for a pause in the action 4) Ask about the activity and
compliment (i.e.‐“What are you guys playing?, it looks really fun”) 5) Ask to join assertively (strong, calm
voice with eye contact).
Thank you for all your support—together we can guide our children to be their best!