Being dramatic is a good thing! But only if that drama is steered in the right direction.
Dramatic behaviour is generally just an outburst of emotions. If taught how to properly process and understand those emotions, children can then efficiently empathize with others emotions. According to PBS.org, “The ability to understand emotions — both your own and those of others — can positively affect self-esteem, personal relationships, career success and overall happiness.”
What is Empathy?
Empathy is the ability to understand and relate to another’s thoughts and feelings.
From infancy, we begin to develop affective empathy, which are the feelings we get in response to another person’s emotional state. By two years old, children begin to develop cognitive empathy, which is the ability to identify and understand other people’s emotions.
Playing Pretend Builds Empathy
When playing pretend, children put themselves in the shoes of another person and begin to act like them. This includes acting out their “character’s” emotions. When taking care of a baby doll, the child pretends they are a parent. When the baby doll cries, they tend to the needs of the crying baby and try to comfort them. When the baby doll needs a diaper change, the child might make a grossed out face. It is then highly likely that when the child encounters a parent trying to comfort a baby, the child will begin to understand the emotions of the parent.
Theatre is a Safe Space for Building Empathy
It is important to give a child a safe, controlled space to experience and explore possible negative emotions. A child can safely watch an actor “bully” another actor, and because the situation is dramatized, can engage in communication to learn how both parties experienced and responded to this situation. They know the situation isn’t real, but this does not undermine the strength of the empathetic response.
Why is Empathy Important?
Helps to build a sense of security and stronger relationships with other children and educators, positioning them well for learning
- Encourages tolerance and acceptance of others
- Promotes good mental health
- Promotes social harmony and can reduce the likelihood of bullying
- & More
Through the Drama Kids program, children can learn empathy in a fun and safe environment. Our highly trained teachers and award-winning curriculum allow students to explore emotions through student created scenes, improvisational situations, and scripted scenes. To get more information, contact us today!