Although empathy is probably genetic, helping it grow in a child’s earliest years is important. Like infants, toddlers will need support for their continued learning about empathy for themselves and for their caregivers….
This is why relationship is so crucial to discipline: relationship supports caring by both the caregiver and the child. Moreover, empathy in relations with other children will support one of the important challenges for toddlers: learning to share.
Empathy for themselves will also shorten the time it takes for them to learn how not to do things that cause frustration and sometimes pain.
Here are a few tips for helping toddlers develop empathy:
1. Guide them with relationship and words, not punishment.
2. Try to understand what they do not yet know.
3. Soothe their fears as they explore so many unknowns.
4. Be patient with their mistakes.
5. Help them develop the words they need for thinking.
6. Help them notice your positive social skills.
By Jack Wright