Roots of Empathy

October 17, 2016

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Empathy is imagining how someone else is feeling and responding with care.  In order to show empathy, many social and emotional skills need to be gained in the first years of life.  Even a baby as young as six months can begin to show empathy.

Here are some tips to help your baby begin to understand and care for others:

  1. Provide mirrors for baby to see himself.  Your baby will start to recognize himself and see that he is his own separate person.
  2. Show your baby lots of love and affection, and respond to his needs.  Establishing a secure, strong and loving relationship is key.  When your baby feels loved, accepted and understood, it is easier for him to accept and understand others as he grows.
  3. When presented with a new person, your baby will look to mom or dad to gauge what his reaction should be.  Is this a good person?  Is this person safe?  Your baby will watch carefully as you greet a visitor to your home to see.  The way you react to the visitor will affect how your baby responds.  If Mom and Dad are friendly and welcoming, then baby knows that yes, this is good person who can be trusted.

Once baby knows that the new person can be trusted, encourage your baby to smile at and interact with friends and family!