Empathy X-ray: helping children notice the positive physical response to connection

Our brains are hardwired for connection. Empathy fuels connection and bridges gaps between emotional experiences in people. When we do good for others we literally can feel the positive physical response in our bodies (reinforcing us to continue the behaviors). It feels good to reach out compassionately especially when we are mindful enough to notice the positive response in ourselves! 

   
 I created this activity to help children notice the “good feelings” related to showing empathy and compassion to others. 

1) First ask the child if she or he knows what an x-ray machine is and explain it as a scan to see what is going on inside of our bodies. 

2) Ask the child to draw the x-ray scan for what it feels like inside when he or she helps and shows kindness to others versus times he or she hurts others feelings. Even very young child can identify the response in their bodies to engaging in compassionate behaviors towards others. 

3) Encourage the child to notice these sensations when they make compassionate choices in the future to further encourage and reinforce compassion and empathy! 

To make this activity even more playful and fun, include puppets! Act out social situations and have the child pretend to take an x-ray of the puppet after positive and negative interactions with others. It’s also great to have the child pretend to be the doctor for the puppet and explain the x-ray to the puppet as well as the importance for the puppet to be kind to others. 🙂 

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