Welcome to Make A Difference Mondays. I will be hosting a linky party on the first Monday of every month.

You can join the linky party by following the simple steps here. Each month we will focus on a different character trait. This linky party will serve as a resource guide to parents and educators. They will be able to come back to this page and link to several ideas on teaching the monthly character trait via lessons, books, videos, etc.

Next month’s character trait will be RESPECT

For those of you who are linking up, enter below for your chance to win an adorable purse from Thirty-One Gifts. It is valued at $49! If you like what you see and you would like to make a purchase from the catalog, contact Nicole.

Empathy to me, is the key to solving many friendship and bullying problems in schools. When my daugther was a year old, I began teaching her how to recognize how she was feeling and how others were feeling as well. We have Todd Parr’s Feeling Flashcards.

These cards are a great tool in expanding your child’s “feeling” vocabulary. I also point out pictures in children’s books and ask her to guess how that person might be feeling so it’s not always about how she is feeling but how others feel too!

There is an organization in Michigan that I support called Kids Empowered. Following is from a newsletter that the founder sent out on Empathy (used with permission from author).

From the Kids Empowered newsletter:

Empathy is being recognized as a key factor in preventing bullying. Time Magazine recently featured an article stating the importance of teaching empathy at a young age.

Increasingly, neuroscientists, psychologists and educators believe that bullying and other kinds of violence can indeed be reduced by encouraging empathy at an early age. Over the past decade, research in empathy ” the ability to put ourselves in another person’s shoes ” has suggested that it is key, if not the key, to all human social interaction and morality.

There are many ways to help your children develop empathy. Our favorite of course is having children participate in the Girls and Boys Empowered programs and volunteering for organizations like Kids Against Hunger.

Another way is to use books to teach lessons about empathy. Amber Housey has just released her first book Just Because, a story about two families who feel it is their responsibility to give back to others.

What does “Flip Side” mean to you? Many of us might think of the other side of a coin or the other side of a delicious pancake. I have decided to take Flip Side a bit further by looking at every day situations or experiences that cause us struggle or upset and see them in a different way or perspective. By “Looking at the Flip Side”, we can learn to see things from a different point of view which can help us control our feelings and emotions in a more productive way. Seeing things from another point of view, can also encourage empathy and compassion for others. Empathy is the ability to “walk in someone else’s shoes” or to recognize and/or share the feelings of another and want to either take action to help or celebrate with them if they are happy.

Teaching children to recognize different feelings and emotions that they have or other have, can help them to be more empathetic and compassionate toward the people around them. In a world where bullying is on the rise, this is a very important skill to teach our children. If a child can put themselves in the shoes of another and understand how their actions affect that other child, they may hesitate to bully someone else. Even more, with this skill, children may have more confidence to take action when they see something happening that isn’t appropriate or fair to another child or person. Identifying with their own feelings and the feelings of others is a step toward ending the epidemic of bullying in our country. Let’s teach our children to “Look at the Flip Side”, where another point of view makes a better you.

Buy Amber’s book here.

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