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Strategies for teaching empathy with tamariki to enable them to learn from their experiences and understand their own behaviour.

Teaching empathy

If tamariki don’t actually understand what ‘I’m sorry’ means, they’re not learning from the experience and therefore not really learning about empathy.

There are better ways to teach kids about empathy.

A better approach is to help them make the connection between what they’ve done and how it has hurt another person, either physically or emotionally.

Pātai atu ki te whānau:

  • What ideas might work for your tamaiti to learn about how others feel?

Focusing on the other person’s feelings might help them to better understand how their behaviour has impacted on someone else.

Use examples and be specific:

  • “Auē, look at Aroha. She’s crying and rubbing her arm where you hit her. Let’s find out if she’s OK. What could we do to help her feel better?”

Asking kids for their ideas is a great strategy for showing them that their opinion is important, and sometimes they have the answers within them.

How does this relate to Tākai resources?

Baby wall frieze – Ka taea au ki te mātakitaki – I can watch

Six things children need – Te ārahi me te māramatanga – Guidance and understanding

Helpful resources for whānau