Hi everyone! I’m Mandy Bush and I am the online business manager for Cardinal Rule Press (Maria’s publishing company). I am a mother of 2 (son and daughter) and I will be blogging this month on Be the Difference and will be recapping some valuable tips from Maria’s new show, Empowering Kids With Character – The Show!

Active Listening - mariadismondy.com

On March 29, Maria wrapped up the month and her theme of empathy by talking about how we can teach active listening which encourages empathy. You can watch the full video here. She recapped a bit by reminding us that part of empathy is “try say do”.

  • TRY to understand how their feeling
  • SAY something about those feelings (acknowledge), and
  • DO something (no longer just talking but DOING something about it) to offer friendship and kindness.

Maria reminded us, as well, that in order for children to try and understand how someone else is feeling, they need to have a very good vocabulary when it comes to feelings. Being able to understand the names, recognizing and labeling the feelings.

Another part of empathy is ACTIVE LISTENING – saying something to someone else and acknowledging their feelings through engaging conversations. Paying attention to their facial features and hearing what they’re saying. How do we teach our children this?

We ask children to put on their watchful eyes and listening ears. This is really important when helping children to be empathetic. Remind children that when they are in conversations with others, they need to make eye contact with the other person(s). They need to listen and engage in the conversation. Ask questions about what the other person is saying (helping that person to feel heard) and reply appropriately.

For example, when listening to someone talk about vacation, you could ask them a follow up question asking what that their favorite part of the vacation was. If they mentioned something that you think was pretty awesome, let them know!We desperately need to teach children how to converse with others. Maria brought up that there are quite a few adults who lack this very important social skill!

Part of empathy is being an active listener. We listen with our eyes and ears. We engage when we’re in conversations with other people by asking questions and listing to their stories.

Maria encouraged us to pay attention when we’re (as adults) in conversations with other people.How does that make you feel when someone isn’t making eye contact? What if they’re dominating the conversation? Not allowing you to speak OR when you do speak, they completely ignore what you’ve said? Do you value that person as much as someone who does pay attention and ask questions? This is why it is so important to teach our children to be active listeners which will help them to be empathetic.

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