Rob Volpe, Empathy Activist and Founder of Ignite 360 talks connecting with your kids during back to school with empathy. It’s back to school season, and that means changes in routine as well as added emotions leading to sensitive discussions with kids

First, it’s important to always remember to take that curious breath to help clear your head and prepare yourself to respond instead of react. The second of the 5 steps, Ask Good Questions, is really important with your kids. In particular, not using the word ‘why’ which puts people on the defensive. Replace that with who, what, where, when, how. Instead of asking ‘why’, chose to ask “tell me more about that”.

The third of the 5 steps, Actively Listen, is also important. When your kids are talking to you, or you are trying to have a conversation, put your phone down. Your kids are what matter in that moment. Listen to them. Repeat back what they said to you, ask if you got it right.  

Next, no matter the age of your kids, find activities that have space and time when you can interact. And no matter the age of kids you have, remember that you are a role model. It’s up to you to model empathy for them. They listen to what you say and what you do. And they’ll mimic you. So if you aren’t showing empathy toward others, chances are they are going to follow in those same foot steps.

Remember, you want your kids to feel like they matter to you.  Do that and you’ll build the trust they’ll need to open up so you can help them.

Find Rob’s book, “Tell Me More About That”, on Amazon, also at The King’s English in SLC. You can also sign up for his bi-weekly newsletter, “Reading Between the Lines”, where he shares tips and tricks on empathy, as well as observations on human insights at

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