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“I Know What You’re Thinking” - Perspective Taking and Empathy

As they grow, children learn about people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviours.

This is important for children who are deaf and hard-of-hearing because they miss parts of conversations happening around them. It’s good to focus on ‘thinking about thinking’ and fill in what they might have missed. It’s easy to fit this into everyday activities like reading stories, watching videos, or solving arguments. It’s also great for language development!

Stand in My Shoes, by Bob Sorenson, is a story about a girl learning to understand the thoughts, feelings, and perspectives of people around her. Your child may have read this book at school. You may also be able to find it by searching online. You can also use any books that you have at home, that your school may have online, or even just talk about your own family.

Child with a think bubble above her headAfter the story is finished, try this: help your child draw a shoe and write a family member’s name at the top. Explain that when we say, “stand in another person’s shoes”, we mean “think about how another person is thinking or feeling”. This is also called “taking their perspective”. Help your child interview a family member about what their daily life looks like during this stay-at-home period. Talk about things the other person likes and dislikes. Do this with different people in your household and put all the shoes on your fridge. Talk about how different people are feeling different things about staying at home. Point out that different people have different thoughts and feelings; that is normal and ok.

Another idea: Put two chairs in the centre of a room back to back. People sit in the chairs and write down or draw what they see in the room. Switch, then compare what you saw. You may find that each of you noticed different things in the same room.