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Promoting Kindness this Summer: How to Speak with Your Child About Empathy and Friendship

We’re living in a time when kindness goes a very long way in demonstrating our empathy and friendship to others. After a turbulent year, young students are eager to get back into the classroom and interact with their peers.

We’re living in a time when kindness goes a very long way in demonstrating our empathy and friendship to others. After a turbulent year, young students are eager to get back into the classroom and interact with their peers.

As they continue to navigate the everyday challenges of childhood while also keeping up with the task of understanding the many changes occurring in the world today, young students must be reminded of the importance of kindness in their interactions with others.

This summer, promote kindness within the academic and social lives of your child by encouraging the communication of empathy and the building of friendship.

The Importance of Developing Empathy and Friendship Building Skills

Empathy and friendship are just two of the many ways in which humans communicate and interact with the people and things closest to them—it’s how we show one another we care. Depending on a wide range of factors, children may find it easy to interact with their peers and build meaningful relationships. For others, friendship building and other significant social skills may come less naturally. But that’s okay, because families can work together to give children the communication tools they need to effectively convey their empathy toward others and strengthen their friendship building skills.

How to Strengthen to the Communication of Empathy and Friendship in Your Child

In order to help your child interact comfortably with their peers at school and in the widest range of social environments as possible, you can promote the spread of kindness to your child right at home.

1. Maintain a parent-child relationship built upon a foundation of love and security to make your child feel more comfortable trusting and communicating with others.
2. Talk about feelings at home to teach your child that vulnerability and sensitivity are positive characteristics that contribute to healthier relationships with others.
3. Read stories that teach lessons about friendship to provide your child with context for the importance of these issues.
4. Practice validation when interacting with children to ensure they understand the importance of feelings—both their own and those of others.
5. Remain patient throughout the process of teaching these important lessons to your child. He or she will learn to practice patience with others, as a result.

When teaching your child about the importance of empathy and friendship, as well as the ways in which we can effectively communicate with others in meaningful, powerful ways, it’s important to invite him or her into the process by using reflection as a means of unpacking the important life lessons you will learn together on this journey.