Read with your kids
Reading to your children is essential, but most of us are so exhausted at the end of a busy day that the thought of spending 10 minutes reading and re-reading is sometimes too much to handle. From just months old, reading teaches your child communication and language skills while strengthening the all-important bond between parent and child.
For those who do read at home, are you reading the correct way? Often parents read to their children instead of engaging them and reading with them. Neuroscientists have found that individuals who read literary fiction not only have a deeper understanding of emotional empathy, but intellectual empathy too. Intellectual empathy is the ability to perceive objectively, from a distance, how other people see and experience things. Unlike empathy where one ‘feels’ with the person, intellectual empathy, as seen in a study conducted by David Comer Kidd and Emanuele Castano of
The New School in New York, has been hailed as one of the most successful skills a person can possess by enabling them to understand the thoughts and motivations of others.
Encourage ‘out the box’ thinking
While your toddler can’t pick up Pride and Prejudice (yet!), reading with your kids every day, engaging them in the story, pausing to ask questions about the characters, their feelings or what your child would do if faced with the situation, causes their brains to think out the box and perceive how others experience the world around them. This can be useful later in life when they may need to consider how people react to situations, or read potential emotions. It creates an individual who can build better relationships in all aspects of their life.
5 great books to build intellectual empathy in kids
- The Thing by Simon Puttock and Daniel Egnéus (Egmont)
- Billy and The Minpins by Roald Dahl (Penguin Random House)
- The Big Book of Animal Stories (Penguin Random House)
- Chizi’s Tale by Jack Jones & Jacqui Taylor (Penguin Random House) 100% of author’s proceeds will go to
TUSK and its work to save the black rhino.
- Good Night, Baby Moon (DK)
Our office loved
- For kids and adults, we loved playing with iDinosaur (Penguin Random House) and its interactive app with
augmented reality. Bring four of the book’s dinosaurs to life in your own home. Great fun for the whole family!
Build their vocab
- Flight of a Starling by Lisa Heathfield (Egmont)
- Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index by Julie Israel (Penguin Random House)
- One of us is Lying by Karen McManus (Penguin Random House)
Did you know?
According to a National Reading Survey conducted in 2016, 58% of South African households do not contain a single
COMPILED BY TARYN DAS NEVES PHOTOS: FOTOLIA.COM