How to Teach Perspective-Taking and Empathy to a Child

Perspective-taking describes the ability to see things from another's point of view and it's an important skill to teach children early on.

How to Teach Perspective-Taking and Empathy to a Child

Gail Innis of Michigan State University Extension has a nice piece up right now about perspective-taking, also known as the ability "to see things from another’s point of view." Innis draws heavily from the book Mind in the MakingThe Seven Essential Life Skills that Every Child Needs authored by Families and Work Institute President (and Big Think expert) Ellen Galinsky. Perspective-taking is one of her essential skills because alternative points of view allow for the development of compassion and empathy. Innis explains the process:


"Perspective-taking is not an easy skill to master and very young children often don’t understand that others have feelings and experiences different from their own. Perspective-taking develops over time and improves as children mature, as it involves multiple parts of the brain, each responsible for a different task."

These concepts, says Innis, don't develop overnight. In the meantime, you can help your child by integrating perspective-taking exercises in everyday play and activities. Incorporate lessons about people who cannot see into games like peek-a-boo and Pin the Tail on the Donkey. Teach your child that there are multiple ways to solve a problem and have them understand that critical thinking can be nonlinear. These are just two examples of acts that can bolster a child's perspective-taking skills. I encourage you to check out Innis' full piece linked below for more tips.

Read more at Michigan State University Extension.

Photo credit: luminaimages / Shutterstock

‘Designer baby’ book trilogy explores the moral dilemmas humans may soon create

How would the ability to genetically customize children change society? Sci-fi author Eugene Clark explores the future on our horizon in Volume I of the "Genetic Pressure" series.

Surprising Science
  • A new sci-fi book series called "Genetic Pressure" explores the scientific and moral implications of a world with a burgeoning designer baby industry.
  • It's currently illegal to implant genetically edited human embryos in most nations, but designer babies may someday become widespread.
  • While gene-editing technology could help humans eliminate genetic diseases, some in the scientific community fear it may also usher in a new era of eugenics.
Keep reading Show less

Massive 'Darth Vader' isopod found lurking in the Indian Ocean

The father of all giant sea bugs was recently discovered off the coast of Java.

A close up of Bathynomus raksasa

SJADE 2018
Surprising Science
  • A new species of isopod with a resemblance to a certain Sith lord was just discovered.
  • It is the first known giant isopod from the Indian Ocean.
  • The finding extends the list of giant isopods even further.
Keep reading Show less

Discovery of two giant radio galaxies hints at more to come

The newly discovered galaxies are 62x bigger than the Milky Way.

This image shows most of the giant radio galaxy MGTC J095959.63+024608.6; in red is the radio light from the giant radio galaxy, as seen by MeerKAT. It is placed ontop of a typical image of the night sky.

I. Heywood, University of Oxford / Rhodes University / South African Radio Astronomy Observatory / CC BY 4.0.
Surprising Science
  • Two recently discovered radio galaxies are among the largest objects in the cosmos.
  • The discovery implies that radio galaxies are more common than previously thought.
  • The discovery was made while creating a radio map of the sky with a small part of a new radio array.
Keep reading Show less

The secret life of maladaptive daydreaming

Daydreaming can be a pleasant pastime, but people who suffer from maladaptive daydreamers are trapped by their fantasies.

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Mind & Brain
  • Maladaptive daydreamers can experience intricate, vivid daydreams for hours a day.
  • This addiction can result in disassociation from vital life tasks and relationships.
  • Psychologists, online communities, and social pipelines are spreading awareness and hope for many.
  • Keep reading Show less
    Mind & Brain

    Why it's important to admit when you're wrong

    Psychologists point to specific reasons that make it hard for us to admit our wrongdoing.

    Scroll down to load more…
    Quantcast