Changing the Way You Look at the World

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change – Wayne Dyer.

Perspective taking requires you to put yourself in another person’s position and imagine what you would feel, think, or do if you were in that situation. Perspective taking helps children to be more successful as adults because they are better able to deal with other people. Seeing and understanding the world from someone else’s point of view is an important life skill you can teach children to build healthy and satisfying relationships.

Perspective-taking is thinking about how another person might feel and think when something is happening.  This may also be called their point of view.

What we know:

Children with better perspective-taking skills are less likely to be involved in conflicts with other children. It helps them know how to behave in social situations, care for others, communicate effectively, solve problems, and work together. Understanding what others are thinking also helps children feel more comfortable in new situations.

Try this:

Take time to listen to your child. When you listen and care about their thoughts and feelings, you demonstrate how to care about another person’s point of view. Over time, children learn how to care about another person’s point of view because they have felt it themselves. As parents you can:

  • model how to look for and listen to another person’s perspective,
  • explain your own views and talk about your thoughts and feelings, and
  • talk with your children about the possible feelings and thoughts of someone else.

Check out this Michigan State Extension resource to learn more ways to help develop perspective taking.

For fun:

Consider reading some of the books about point of view on Adrienne Gear’s list with your children to help them gain a better understanding of someone else’s perspective.

Print this as a 1-page handout (Changing the Way You Look at the World, PDF).

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