Signs Your Child Is Developing Empathy

So how do we know if we are helping kids develop empathy?

Here are a few signs that things are going well in the first two years:

Stage by Stage: 0 to 2

  •  By soothing an infant, you'll help him learn to comfort himself and, eventually, to comfort others.

  •  Toddlers are sensitive to the feelings of their friends and will often mimic their emotions, a necessary precursor to empathy.

  •  Empathy needs to be repeatedly modeled and encouraged in toddlers before it becomes a part of their behavior.

Stage by Stage: 3 to 4

  •  Threes can make the connection between emotions and desires, and they can respond to a friend's distress with simple soothing gestures.

  •  Sometimes preschoolers can only relate to the feelings of others if they share the same feelings and perspective on a situation.

  •  Fours are capable of seeing a situation from another person's perspective. Yet they need to know that not all! reactions to feelings are OK.

Stage by Stage: 5 to 6

  •  With their ever-increasing vocabulary, lives love to share their feelings, and discussions about emotions will help them develop a better understanding of the feelings of others.

  •  Fives and sixes are learning how to read others' feelings through their actions, gestures, and facial expressions — an essential empathy and social skill.

•By modeling and encouraging empathy, kindergartners will learn how to become compassionate members of a caring community.