Helping Children To Develop Empathy

Helping children to develop empathy

With kindness being one our core values here at See US Grow Childcare and Learning Center we are always looking for ways to help kindness flourish amongst the children. In order to develop genuine kindness, children must first develop empathy so it is worth considering what empathy is, and how we can encourage its development.
Empathy is an important building block of our society; it is the ability to understand what other people are feeling. Empathy involves being able to imagine yourself in someone else’s place and see things from their point of view. We often refer to this as “Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes”. As well as keeping society functioning, by making people kinder towards its more vulnerable members, empathy helps us to build social connections with others.
For children, developing empathy is a developmental milestone which is developed gradually, over time, as children get older. The first stage in developing empathy is for children to feel secure in their attachment to caregivers. This includes parents and day care staff. The staff at See Us Grow encourage healthy attachment relationships as this leads to security, from which children can learn empathy and kindness towards others.
Later on, children develop what is called “theory of mind” by psychologists. Simply put this is the recognition that they are an individual, that they have their own thoughts, that others do not know everything they know, and that others have their own thoughts too, which may be different. When you put it like this you realise that it is actually a pretty complex chain of understanding required in order to develop empathy, but before they are 3 some children are already making stride towards this!

Some quick, practical tips:

We hope that helps as you seek to support your child in developing empathy. It’s amazing how children pick up complex concepts so quickly in the first few years of life, what are some of the ways you’ve noticed your child showing empathy?

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