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Kids Can

Who cares?

kids hugging in a sunflower field

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Empathy is understanding and caring about how another person feels.

  • When children know that they are cared for, they in turn care for others.
  • Learning to identify and express feelings in a healthy way is a key step in developing empathy.
  • Empathy involves kindness, cooperation and friendship.  These qualities are important for preparing your child for school.
  • Children who stand up for other children that are being treated unkindly tend to be happier and more resilient.

Mom hugging girl
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Here’s how you can help your child learn empathy:

  • Teach your child to be aware of how their words and actions affect others.
  • Teach your child to ask: Am I being kind?  Am I being fair?  Am I hurting anybody?
  • Praise your child for sharing and being kind. “You are being so kind and I’m proud of you.”
  • Provide opportunities for your child to share, care, help and serve.
  • Young children mimic the actions they see around them.  Role model the behaviour you want them to develop. Be happy for a neighbour who gets a new car.  Be sad for a relative who broke their ankle.
  • Teach your child to treat others the way they would want to be treated.
  • Apologize to your child when you are wrong.

Interactive Fun

Having empathy sometimes means showing others kindness.
Click here to see what kindness in action looks like!

Superheroes love to help people. Click an image below to print your own superhero colouring sheet.


quiz icon Quiz

  1. Your child is playing with a toy that another child would like a turn with.  How can you help your child learn empathy?

    a) Tell your child to give the toy to the other child.
    b) Tell your child to play with it as long as they are having fun.
    c) Encourage your child to think about how the other child might be feeling and explore caring options, e.g., sharing, taking turns or setting a time limit.
    d) Let the children figure it out on their own.

     The best answer is ‘C’.Helping your child identify how others might be feeling, and encouraging them to think about their own thoughts and actions can help your child develop empathy.
     The best answer is ‘C’.Helping your child identify how others might be feeling, and encouraging them to think about their own thoughts and actions can help your child develop empathy.

Activity Ideas

Mom reading to kids
  • Have your child choose some of their toys to give away and decide where you could take them.
  • Read a story with your child and help them identify what each character is feeling. For example in ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’ when baby bear is being treated unkindly, ask your child "How would you feel if someone broke your chair and ate your porridge?”
  • Singing a song with your child like, ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It’ can help create emotional awareness.  Show different emotions like being happy, sad, or angry and sing, “If Mommy’s happy and you know it clap your hands.”  “If Mommy is sad and you know it rub your eyes.” “If mommy is angry and you know it stomp your feet.”
  • Find an opportunity to show kindness. “Grandma isn’t feeling well, how does that make us feel?” “Sad.” “What can we do to help her feel better?” Help your child come up with ideas, such as making a card or calling Grandma, and help them follow through.