You may wonder if children will ever be kind and caring when they constantly interrupt your phone conversations. They may also fail to understand that “Mom is too tired” to play with them. You may be surprised at how cruel young children can be to each other. Toddlers simply don’t understand that other people don’t feel like they do. They also don’t understand that sometimes they are not the most important people in the world.
Most parents hope their children will learn to be sensitive to others and act with kindness. But caring doesn’t happen unless children themselves are treated with sensitivity and kindness. It helps to be aware of what you can do to encourage empathy.
Empathy develops from infancy when children are treated with kindness and understanding. Empathy is often described as the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. In other words, empathy is the ability to understand how someone else feels and how to respond to them. When children feel valued and loved, they will naturally respond to others in that way.
It may not be until school age that your child has the thinking skills needed to learn how to take someone else’s point of view, and what to do about it. But, by showing your child love and sensitivity from the day they are born, you’re setting a good example for learning to be kind and caring.