Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. As parents, teachers, care givers of children some ways that we can help them understand what empathy is by modeling it, by helping them be mindful of others and by practicing being empathetic. This printable uses a basketball game to show the progression from self (I won), to feeling empathy for others, to acting with compassion. This sheet can be used as a template. There is a blank template. You can walk through different situations with children using this printable. Helping them to practice empathy with a guide. Here is an example:
- (situation)In the hallway at school on the way to class.
- (mindful of others)You notice someone quickly trying to pick up a mess of papers.
- (tune into others feelings)They look upset.
- (connect)You think about the time you dropped a box of crayons and they scattered everywhere and how frustrating that was for you.
- (show compassion)You say, “Let me help you. I know what it feels like to drop something and it scatters everywhere.”
*GROWTH, PROGRESS, SELF AWARENESS
We all get stuck, or feel stuck, as we learn and grow. We bump into an obstacle, become stagnant, can’t think of a way to keep going. Having tools to help us become aware of actions we can take, skills we can work on to overcome the obstacle or keep moving are very valuable. Knowing that we are responsible, and able to exercise, strengthen our mindset gives us control to navigate through difficulties. It gives us a step to take, just a bit of movement. Below are two printables one children can use to practice self awareness around learning and growth, and one parents can use to get a glimpse of how you can help your child build their growth mindset. Children can simply run their finger along each scale. This is simple but gets them to think critically about their performance, in a positive action based model. “Oh look, right now you are working on a difficult challenge. It looks like you are getting down on yourself when you make a mistake. Next time you make a mistake remind yourself that it is okay, mistakes are part of the process, we all make them and try again. That is how we practice and build our resilience.” Remember these scales are always changing, they are simply a check in to give us some information, and provide a direction we can go. The practice lies in checking back in frequently, being mindful of our own growth and progress.
* AWARENESS, ACTION, UNDERSTANDING
Children need to experience taking on a challenge, creating something through perseverance, failing and trying again. They need the opportunities to go through this process over and over, and build their understanding that struggle is okay that it IS a part of the process of becoming better at something. This printable can help remind them that it takes courage, perseverance, and resilience to do hard things. They can find comfort in the awareness that having ups and downs happens to us all. We are connected through the process of growth, and we are all capable humans.
Progress is defined as movement toward a destination, and growth is gradual development. We are all capable of progress and growth. The reason I published my book, Tromper’s Tale of Courage, was with the idea that it could help children to experience, and see progress and growth, and build their understanding that they are capable, courageous and connected to this process. We all share feelings of doubt and worry as we take on challenges that help us to develop. The sharing of stories, visual models, and resulting conversations are one way to help children to build experiences of challenging oneself and seeing the resulting growth. It is one way in many to build a history of experiences behind them to recall on when needed! We need to be giving children as many chances as possible to experience that progress is making mistakes, trying again, and practicing over and over, so that they can begin to notice that growth, and feeling fulfilled happens bit by bit during the doing, not at the end result. Below are four printables with varying levels of detail. Beginning with the cyle of challenge taking, mistake making, and practicing. Then, moving on to show how that cycle becomes movement, and progress towards better. Tromper’s Tale of Courage has this visual at the end of the book.
*SELF-AWARENESS AROUND LABELS
Labels that we take on can become a slippery slope of worries, limits and judgements, and in the end can have us feeling stuck. With self-awareness we can respond to labels with an understanding that we can learn, grow and change. Practicing this awareness and understanding builds a strong mindset that can allow us to take action and be willing to try. This visual shows how labels can send us down a slippery slide or we can take action to climb a ladder towards possibility. It’s hard work to take action, but we are capable, and it is fulfilling!
“This is a wonderful day. I’ve never seen this one before.”Maya Angelou
Here is a helpful visual of one way to practice appreciation. Look…feel…discover. Practicing this daily helps us to slow down and notice joyful moments. Practicing together as a family, or journaling about the joyful moments are two ways to make the practice even more impactful.
“Success consists in the climb.”Elbert Hubbard
“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”Albert Einstien
This visual shows a simple picture definition of perseverant, resilient, and courageous. Next it shows the difference these powerful words can make for us when we put them into action. They really are difference makers!! This chart can provide a quick look to check:
- “Am I persevering right now?”—-quitting or continuing
- “Am I being resilient?”—-giving up or trying again
- “Am I being courageous?”—-stuck or choosing to act (even just a bit)