From Sympathy to Empathy: How to Teach Kids Christ-like Compassion


As a faithful parent, you already know the importance of teaching empathy to your child. However, you might be wondering what concrete steps you can take to raise a more compassionate, Christian little one.

It’s easy to be sympathetic. You express your interest in people while still maintaining a safe distance. However, empathy actually requires you to imagine yourself as another person. Jesus was always sensitive to the plight of those in need, and it’s important to encourage the same thoughtfulness in your child.

Talk About Your Feelings

When you explain to your child why you’re feeling a particular way, you remind them that other people experience all the same emotions they do. Sometimes it might be frustrating when people act in certain ways. Remind your child that forgiveness is easier when we try to understand others’ motivations. If we are respectful when dealing with other people, they are more likely to treat us with respect.

Acknowledge When Others Display Compassion

Always remember the importance of leading by example. If you show compassion toward others, your child is more likely to show compassion too. When you see other people showing compassionate behavior, praise it. Prayer is also an effective way to help your child consider the needs and perspective of other people.

Try an Active Approach

The next time you’re watching TV or reading a book, ask your child how a character might be feeling. How is the character like your child? Another great activity to grow your child’s compassion involves a trip to the second hand store. Once you arrive, have your child look at all of the different pairs of shoes. Ask your child to pick out one pair in particular and to try to imagine the person who might have worn those shoes. What might life be like for that person? Does your child think that God plays an important part in that person’s life?

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32 NIV

Encouraging empathy is no easy task, but these ideas are sure to get you off on the right foot. By way of growing closer to others through empathy, you will help bring your child closer to God. For information on how to secure financial aid for private school we encourage you to contact CornerStone Christian Academy & Tykes at (702) 939-5050.