The 2016 presidential election made one thing clear: Empathy is sorely lacking in our society. Empathy, like racism, sexism, prejudice and bigotry, is learned at home. Here is a short list of ways you can teach your child to love, respect and value those who do not look or act like her.
1. Go beyond a play date. It’s easy to look inclusive when meeting at a neutral location but actually take an interest in your child’s ethnically or religiously diverse classmates. Hang out at their home or in their neighborhood and see how they live.
2. Be a good sport. Talk with your children about what a good sportsman looks like. More from KidsHealth.org.
3. Go help someone. The holiday season is around the corner. Invite a neighbor or classmate over for dinner. Deliver meals to boys and girls clubs, senior living facilities, then stay and engage with them. Show your kids how to shine their light on others. More from Volunteer Match.
4. Failure is your friend. It builds character, teaches humility and resilience. Encourage your child to make mistakes. More from Business Insider.
5. Be brave. Talk with your kids about how much courage and heart it took a disabled or overweight kid to try out for the basketball team or cheerleading squad. Would you be that brave? More from Understood.org.
6. The limelight isn’t everything. Overcoming narcissism starts in childhood. More from KidPower.org.
7. Mean girls have gone viral. Let’s stop them in their tracks. More from iMom.
8. Use your voice. Empower your children to speak out against negative treatment of a classmate or a stranger. More from KidPower.org.
9. Empathy requires action. More from Prevent Bullying.
10. Teach kids how to be resilient. Studies suggest that kids are more likely to develop a strong sense of empathy when their own emotional needs are being met at home (Barnett 1987).
11. Forgive. It’s The Heart of the Matter. More from Families.com.
12. Random acts of kindness are contagious. Our children mirror our behavior and will become kind citizens of the world if we are. More from Baby Center.
13. Unplug from the screen. Electronics are useful but deny children opportunities to emotionally engage with others. More from CNN.
14. Be slow to judge. More from Harvard.
15. Teach tolerance. More from Teach for Change.
(Photo Drew Scrimsher/Stocksy)