Build empathy in this role-playing game.
How to Play
Think of a person and a scenario. Consider scenarios your child is familiar with – going to school, visiting family, cooking, playing with friends. You suggest to your child, “Let’s play Trading Places. Usually at school the adult is the teacher, and the children are the students. For this game, let’s switch places! You can be your teacher and I will be the student. Let’s pretend we’re in class and two students are not sharing. What would your teacher say?”. As the adult acting like a student, you can create situations that would often happen in a classroom. For example, the "teacher" could ask you share and as the adult acting like a student, you could talk about how you still want to keep playing. Take direction from your child as they take on the switched role, and ask questions as you act out the scenario such as “how do you think the teacher feels when the kids aren’t listening?” Seeing the world from another person’s view can foster communication skills and understanding of their world.
The parent can suggest, “Let’s play Trading Places! Let’s pretend that we are at soccer practice, but this time, you be the coach and I will be one of the players. What drills are we going to do today coach?” In this situation, the parent can explore different situations like how the coach feels when the team wins, how they would best teach skills, and how they would react when a player isn’t paying attention.
Some kids may make fun of the person they are playing (e.g. act mean because they feel the teacher is too strict). Use this as an opportunity to listen to your child and what they are feeling, while also reflecting on their behaviour, “The teacher seemed really angry. I am wondering why that might be.”
Make it Easier
Start with a song or nursery rhyme that you both know well so that the ‘script’ is already known.
Make it Harder
Include more children so that there is opportunity to learn from more people.
Adapted from https://raisingchildren.net.au/school-age/development/creative-development/school-age-creative-development