Toddlers think they’re the center of the universe, and although we can’t blame them — it’s totally normal and probably evolutionarily sound — it’s still natural to want them to show a gentler, kinder version of themselves every once in a while. Even if your little ones are veritable hug machines, they probably still need some help in the empathy department now and then. But how do you get a toddler to think about someone other than himself?
Here are seven tips for teaching empathy.
1. Acknowledge that they’re capable of it. ‘
2. Talk about emotions.
3. Actively encourage empathy.
4. Shift the focus to others.
5. Act it out
6. Reward instead of punish.
7. Empathize with your child