Growing up to be kind and caring

Preschooler with a teddy bear

Toddlers don’t understand when other people don’t feel like they do, or that sometimes they are not the most important people in the world. But does this mean that they won’t grow to be kind and caring individuals? No, it does not.

You may wonder if children will ever be kind and caring when they constantly interrupt your phone conversations or fail to understand that “Mom is too tired” to play with them. You may also 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, or 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, so 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, to understand how someone else feels and how to respond to them. When children feel valued and loved, they will naturally respond to others 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 he is born, you’re setting a good example for learning to be kind and caring.