Play “My Menorah” Together
Download the app “My Menorah” and play it together with your child, setting the scene for the following activities on today’s theme: Empathy
Reading Storybooks Together
Stories can help bring a child from a stage of projection (“what would I do in that situation?”) to empathy (“I can understand why that person did what s/he did.”) Find a story to read out loud with the child and periodically stop reading to ask reflective questions like “why do you think s/he said that?” or “what do you think s/he is feeling right now?”
Empathy Puppet Show
Using toys you already have in the house (stuffed animals, action figures, dolls, etc) create a puppet show that tells the story of someone demonstrating empathy. This requires one character enduring some type of difficulty and another empathizing. Record it on video and share with family and friends.
Working the Muscle of Empathy: Try to be aware, throughout the eight days of Chanukah, of moments in which people around you would benefit from empathy. It may be your child whining about homework or a colleague frustrated by a broken printer. Use these eight days to sharpen your awareness, and try to employ your empathy skills. A sustained awareness during this holiday just might begin a pattern of thought and behavior, so that it continues well past the winter months.