Have you ever noticed how sometimes you get so caught up in the everyday routines of life that you forget about the rest of the world? We often run in the fast lane, which can be exciting and fun but also downright exhausting! Our kids can feel this quick pace as well, and that is why it is so important to teach them to be aware and to look out for others.
What does being aware mean? For children, it means teaching them empathy at a young age. The first step to having empathy for others is to simply be aware of those around you. When you’re a toddler, you have a “me” and “mine” attitude by nature. You want everything for yourself, which is a normal step for becoming self-aware. Eventually, you learn that there are others around you who also want to play and to be recognized. With the right environment, toddlers can start to appreciate other toddlers and they will learn to share and to play with respect for others.
Preschoolers pick it up a notch and by the time they arrive at kindergarten, sharing with others is a huge focus. There are lots of great books out there that help children identify with others and become more aware. Some of my personal favorites are:
Empathy Is Your Superpower: A Book About Understanding the Feelings of Others by Cori Bussolari
How Full Is Your Bucket? For Kids by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer
Stand In My Shoes: Kids Learning About Empathy by Bob Sornson
When children truly learn what it means to have empathy for others, they are prepared for the challenges of everyday life. Whether it’s choosing to help a friend with schoolwork; playing with someone at recess who doesn’t have a friend; picking up a teammate after a bad play; etc. all the choices we make have a huge impact on our world. Bene Bear can help solidify this concept by letting children make the choice to be kind, make a donation, or do something good for someone else. There is no better lesson in life!