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How Playtime Can Help Your Child Show Greater Empathy

Laura Hay |

Headlines are often touting how the younger generation is less empathetic than past generations. That’s a problem for everyone in society. The ability to recognize how someone else is feeling is important for interpersonal relationships but also for society as a whole.
That’s where playtime can come in — it can help your child become more empathetic. Here are 4 ways that playtime can not only benefit your child’s development but also teach them to be more empathetic at the same time.
Developing Their Social Skills
Playtime, whether it’s directly with other children involved or others are simply in the same room or nearby your child when they’re playing, will help with social skills. Your child will learn about manners, mood swings, friendships, and sharing by playing with others.
They’ll learn that their behavior can make someone’s day or make their day even worse if they aren’t careful. And they’ll also get better at learning to handle their own moods, which will also increase their empathy. By experiencing the same emotions as others do, like anger, frustration, and sadness, they’ll know exactly how others feel and will be able to sympathize with them.
Builds Coping Mechanisms
By developing healthy ways to deal with the drama that comes their way, kids will be able to not only understand what others are going through in times of crisis, but they’ll be better equipped to help them through those hard times.
By playing, especially playing with others, your child will learn patience, and realize that simple things like taking a few deep breaths, getting some exercise, and counting to 10 before reacting in situations can help immensely. That’s giving your child the emotional maturity he or she will need throughout their life to help their friends, family, and even strangers who are going through a hard time.
Making Them Confident About Their Abilities to Help Others
Sometimes a person can have empathy for another who is going through a hard time, but they aren’t sure how to best help that person or show that they care. By interacting with others through playtime, your child will build their self-confidence.
They’ll know how to help others through difficult times, and they won’t feel helpless when they see someone suffering. They’ll know that hugs can be a lifesaver and that asking someone to talk about their troubles can make all the difference in the world.
They’ll have all the tools they’ll need to have someone’s back. And by getting a person in emotional need to open up, they’ll be helping not only that person, but everyone around that person too.
Why Empathy Matters
Empathy won’t just make the world a better place — although we can certainly use that in today’s society. It will also have real benefits for your child, including helping them with their personal relationships and also in their workplace someday. They’ll become a natural leader and someone people want to turn to when the chips are down.
That kind of resilience and caring will take them a long way in their life — and to think all you need to do to jumpstart it is to let them indulge in some playtime.
About the Author
Jenny Silverstone is the mother of two and a professional writer and editor for the popular parenting blog She is a strong proponent of letting children learn through play, and the importance of teaching empathy and compassion to build a brighter future for all.

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