Thursday, December 01, 2011

Mind in the Making: Seven Essential Life Skills

Skill Two: Perspective Taking

This involves having empathy and being able to figure out how someone else thinks and feels based on what we know about them.  It also involves being able to inhibit our own thoughts and feelings in order to be able to see things from another perspective.  Having this skill helps children understand what their teachers want and expect and can also help them learn to read.

How to promote it:
1.  Practice it: If children feel listened to and understood, they'll be better able to listen and understand others.  Also, children who have a trusting relationship with their parents that makes them feel safe and secure are more able to understand other perspectives.
2.  Teach them how to be with other people: part of this is teaching conflict resolution
3.  Help children feel known and understood
     - for infants: imitate what they are doing (including sounds)
     - repeat back their words and describe what you see them doing
     - ask questions about what they are doing
     - let them know you've been there and know how they are feeling
4.  Talk about your feelings and their feelings.
5.  Use opportunities during the day to talk about other people's perspectives
6.  Give them time to pretend and try on other people's perspectives
7.  Make them aware of their behavior's effect on others.
8.  Teach them appraisal skills - how to figure out the intent of others
      - by thinking about people's responses to every day situations
      - by thinking about the intent of character's in books, tv shows, and movies

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