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How books teach children to take someone else’s point of view

Helping a child get in touch with their feelings and those of others can be a challenge for parents and teachers. When a child behaves unfriendly, parents or a teacher may ask: “How would you feel if you would do the same?” They ask similar questions in this form, and not, for example: “How do you think he felt in this situation? ”because they know that a child at this age cannot yet understand someone else’s point of view. It is easier for him to understand his feelings than the feelings of another person. Nevertheless, the ability to accept someone else’s point of view is an important skill necessary for the social development of the child.

The best way to help your child develop this skill is to often talk about the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of the people that the child faces in everyday life, as well as the characters in the books you read together and the movies you watch with him. Reading books creates great opportunities for discussing the feelings of characters, because in children’s books, interactions between people and their feelings very often come to the fore. Life is not like a television show, so the topic of feelings is rarely addressed in everyday conversations with a child. Discussing books in this regard gives parents and children much more opportunities.

To comprehend the feelings of the characters of books, films or television shows is also useful because the child gets the opportunity to talk about emotions, while being calm. It is much easier for a child to talk about hypothetical cases of bullying at school or family conflicts than about real cases. Such hypothetical situations help parents to discuss complex problems with their children at home or on the playground.

For example, when a child starts to scream and demand breakfast on a weekend at six in the morning, tell him that now he looks like some kind of capricious cartoon character. This strategy will work much better than just telling him that he is talking rudely, or explaining how you feel from his words. By comparing his behavior with the behavior of the negative heroes of books or cartoons, you achieve the fact that he understands how those who are harmed by negative heroes feel. The child loves goodies and wants them to be happy. And therefore, with such a comparison, he understands the connection with himself and what role he is now in. After the child was able to see the situation from the outside, help him correct the situation and switch to another role.

Because the stories are based on dramatic stories, you can easily use books, films, or television shows to talk about emotions with your child. Start with simple questions about his thoughts and feelings, for example:

Which episode of the story amused you the most?
What episode of the story do you consider the most terrible (pleasant, sad)?
If you were in the place of the protagonist, how would you feel?
By listening to the child’s reactions to what they read and sharing your own feelings, you can start talking with your child about different emotions and situations that you have not talked about before. You can push the child to look at situations from different points of view, ask questions about why the characters acted in one way or another, and whether this helped them achieve their goals. Give your child a chance. Over time, this will not only help you start interesting conversations with your child about books that you read together, but will also become the basis for him to switch from the role of a negative character to the role of a good character in your family stories.

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