While it is important to figure out by looking at someone or a situation what someone is feeling, it is just as important to predict how someone may feel if you speak or if you act in a certain way. When we are able to predict how someone may feel given a set of circumstances, we can gauge how and what we may say or do.
This is an important social skill that we can teach our children by playing a game with them or by just simple conversation. We may ask them, “Lauren just moved and will be going to a new school tomorrow. How do you think she will feel?” We can make up other scenarios that may be applicable to our own children that would be good for them to consider the feelings of others.
When we take children out of the scenario, their own emotions about the situation do not get involved and they can express clearly what may happen. When the time is appropriate you can compare it to a situation that they are in and it will be easier for them to understand how they may respond with more empathy.
When we are in the middle of a situation, especially if there are emotions involved, it can be very difficult to be empathetic. Practicing predicting the feelings of others can be helpful for all of us, child or adult.