Parenting Suggestions

Learning Empathy

Today’s book suggestion is We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins. 

This book is a funny story about a little T-Rex in a class full of human kids  that illustrates how tough it can be to fit in, behave well, and make friends at the start of school. We Don’t Eat Our Classmates is cute and silly and engaging as it teaches important lessons about empathy, getting along, and following the rules.  


Teaching Empathy to Children
Activity from Brook Publishing Co. “Building Student Empathy”

Activity 1: Identifying and Modeling Emotions

Print out this list of emotions and review it with your students. Then try this:

  • Call on students and ask them to point to the face that shows happiness, sadness, etc. Continue until all students who had their hands raised have had a chance, even if it involves repeating emotions.
  • Ask all students who want to demonstrate an emotion to put their hand up. In rapid succession, instruct students to display physical actions that illustrate each emotion. Jump in and assist with your own modeling as needed.
  • Now it’s your turn—model one of the emotions that your students haven’t modeled yet, and see if your students can identify what emotion you’re feeling. Ask them what could have happened to you to make you feel that way.
  • Discuss potential scenarios that may elicit emotions. Say to your students, “Show me what you would look like if you experienced this,” and then present them with the below examples (or come up with your own):
    • You reached out to hug someone who turned away.
    • You won a prize that you weren’t expecting.
    • Your goldfish died.
    • You saw yourself on TV.
    • Your friend just pointed out that you have something stuck in your teeth and it’s been there since breakfast!
    • You found ants all over a treat you had left for later.
    • A person in your class got a toy that you have really wanted for a long time.

“All Fun & Books” is a weekly post from Sara, Dunebrook’s Public Education Coordinator. She is the mother of three-year-old twin girls.

At Dunebrook we invite parents to be the best parents possible.  In the spirit of trust, kindness and experience, we can be there with them and support them, and their children and entire family. 

We’re just a phone call away! 1-800-897-0007

Public Education and Our Community:

The key to keeping children safe is prevention education. According to the Child Molestation Research & Prevention Institute, 95% of child maltreatment is preventable through education.

Sounds good…what do I do next:

  • Call or email Sara Hoyt at 874-0007, sara@dunebrook.orgto receive specific information about our sexual abuse prevention trainings and parenting support groups.

Our prevention trainings and support groups are free and serve a variety of different settings.  We’ve been funded for over 30 years by the generosity of community grants, fundraising support and some federal program funding.

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Handling the Unexpected

Today’s book suggestion is Pete the Cat and the Bedtime Blues by Kimberly & James Dean. 

Pete the Cat is a fictional cartoon cat. A common theme in the Pete the Cat series is that something unexpected will happen to Pete. Pete is a good reminder to take things in stride, and a great example for children as well.

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About the Animals

Today’s book suggestion is Moo, Baa, LaLaLa by Sandra Bounton. 

A great book to learn the sounds animals make and also encourage parent child interaction by practicing the noises.

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Bedtime Fears

Today’s book suggestion is “In the Dark”.  It’s very common for children to develop a fear of the dark. As parents, it is important for us to help children cope with this fear by validating those feelings and helping them navigate through those emotions.                                        


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