5 Ways to Teach Perspective Taking

In today's interconnected world, emotional intelligence is more crucial than ever.

One key component in developing social emotional skills in children is the ability to see things from another’s point of view.

Why Perspective Taking Matters for Kids

Building Empathy

Perspective taking allows children to understand and almost feel the emotions and experiences of others. It helps them develop compassion and kindness towards their peers, laying the foundation for strong and meaningful relationships.

Enhancing Emotional Regulation

By learning to see situations from different viewpoints, kids also become better at recognizing and managing their own emotions. This self-awareness leads to improved communication and conflict resolution skills.

Fostering Friendship

When kids have to have everything “their way” it is often because they have simply not developed the skill of being able to understand there is actually another (or several) other ways. This type of need for control makes it much harder to navigate disagreements and misunderstandings between fellow peers and therefore reduces the probability of creating true connections.

Fun Ways to Teach Perspective Taking

1. Role-Playing

Give students scenarios that involve interpersonal conflicts or dilemmas. Assign roles to each student, ensuring that they represent various perspectives within the social situation. I tailor my each role play with highly relevant scenarios that they would be likely to encounter. After the role play, facilitate a discussion where students reflect on the experience and share their thoughts.

2. Games

Playing games gets student buy-in. Keep it light hearted and use them a means to build class camaraderie and a sense of togetherness. 

This or that game

This or That?! Is an easy one that is always a hit. Students take turns picking a card and reading the two items on the card. Before they tell the group which item they would prefer, the group guesses what that person would pick based on what they know about that person. Be sure to remind your students that it’s not what they like but their peer. Then everyone can share-which is their favorite part.

Match my mood game

Match My Mood is a card game that explores situations a bit more in depth but still in a fun way. There are scenario cards which are typical social situations and then adjective mood cards that range from funny to sad to scary to dramatic. The player who picks a mood card (the judge) reads and shows it to the group. The rest of the players have a hand in various scenarios and need to choose one of those scenarios in which they think the judge would feel that way. The judge collects the cards and then picks the one he or she most agrees with.

3. Storytelling and Literature

For the younger ones, using books and stories can be very impactful. Especially because they loves for them to be repeated so often. Two of my favorites are Duck! Rabbit! and Should I Share My Ice-cream?

4. Group Discussions

For my students over 8 years old and above, I like to start each of my Social Skills Groups with a little group check in. Kids can bring up what's important to them and the others are encouraged to listen respectfully and discuss their thoughts and feelings openly. 

For the younger ones, we do a show & tell activity. We get to know each other via the items each child chooses to bring to show the group. We ask questions or make comments about the item and in turn, learn what each other like, the people who are in their lives, and what we have in common.

5. Videos

Did someone say “screen time?” I love showing Snack Attack to my students. I often play it once, then talk about it, and then play it one more time. This is because as a viewer, our perception completely changes from what we thought we understood. It is isn’t until the very end that we see things from a different point of view.

Snack Attack video
Snack Attack

By teaching kids to understand and empathize with others' perspectives, we not only nurture their social and emotional development but also equip them with essential skills for success and happiness

in life. The trick is to make it fun and engaging!


Related Articles:

5 Ways to Help Kids be More Socially Flexible

Categories: books, communication

 I'm a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and former Special Education Teacher dedicated to teaching kids the 21st Century Social Skills they need to live happier, healthier lives

Diana Cortese
Founder, Teach Social Skills