Start the new year by practicing an important life lesson: teach your child to imagine the world from another person’s viewpoint. Begin with simple questions: How do you think your teacher feels when the class isn’t listening? How do you think your classmate feels when he’s laughed at? Such questions build empathy. Also, help your child see the similarities between themselves and others, like the woman you visit at the nursing home, the shy child in class, or the man in a developing country who is seeking a loan to start a business. Do the same with characters in books or movies you share together.

Talk to your child: Remind your child that everyone needs help at times, that all of us have something to offer others, and that the world is a better place when we help one another out.

Book to share: Enemy Pie by Derek Munson. Ages 5 and up. This funny, sweet story features the sort of neighborhood conflict all kids experience. The secret recipe that’s the cure for conflict, enemy pie, may inspire your kids to make a few new friends of their own.