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We try to provide our children with the best tools so that they grow up happy and healthy, both physically and emotionally. And while self-esteem is one of the basic pillars for the development of a child, empathy is no less. But, How is empathy developed in children? There are many ways and one of them we especially like: it is the reading fairy tales. Literature works its magic for children and adults!
We hear about empathy and its importance in social relationships, but we are not quite sure what it is either. Is it putting yourself in the place of the other? Well, that and much more. Actually empathy opens the mind because it is the mechanism by which the reality of others can be understood. It is being aware that each person understands and faces situations differently.
Through empathy you can see the feelings of other people and their motivations and, Why is it important for children to develop empathy? To broaden your world, open your mind, count on others, care for others, understand others and generate bonds of kindness, companionship and solidarity. What kid doesn't deserve this?
But let's move on to the books, because the truth is that fairy tales are often pure empathy. When we talk about fairy tales we are not only talking about fairies, but about those beings of popular and ancestral folklore that include goblins, elves, unicorns, witches, gnomes and any other fantastic being that may arise from tradition or current imagination.
But in fairy tales there are also evil beings, otherwise we would not have a story to read. The most common are dragons, ogres, evil witches and stepmothers (also bad ones). And despite its wickedness, children should also stop for a moment to reflect on the motivations of the villains. No, they do not have to put themselves in their place, but it is advisable that they verify that not everyone acts out of kindness.
The plot of any fairy tale is a protagonist who is in a hurry or in a sorry situation. He is having a bad time, he is suffering and after more or less incidents the magic appears to help him. The fairy godmother, often with her magical assistants, is the best example of a character who empathizes with the protagonist and helps him in his misery.
When they are a little older, the magic of fairy tales can be found by reading them themselves, but in the first steps we are the ones who can use literature to develop their empathy. Also, reading a story to a child is one of those activities that you never forget.
The proposal is that we ask the child as we read. What do you think will happen to the protagonist in the next chapter? How do you think he feels right now? Can you think of any solutions to help the protagonist? It is not an exam, be careful, it is simply to stimulate your curiosity and understanding.
And later, when the happy ending of the fairy tale arrives, we can talk with the children about how wonderful the help has been. The protagonist has been able to get out of his unhappy situation and his feelings have evolved throughout the story. And if we do a recount of how you have felt at all times?
We can choose any of the stories by the Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Andersen, volumes that are in the libraries of any child and that at least in terms of emotions are still valid. Why Empathy is a characteristic as universal as it is timeless, and also magical.
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