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.