It’s often said that children are like sponges, absorbing everything around them as they grow and learn. And when it comes to developing empathy and compassion towards others, it seems that even very young children can surprise us. In fact, recent research has shown that four-year–olds in particular are especially adept at picking up on the emotions of those around them, and responding with kindness and understanding.
For example, one study found that four-year-olds were more likely than younger children to show concern for someone who was upset or hurt, and to offer comfort and support. They were also better at interpreting the subtle cues in facial expressions and body language, which allowed them to respond more appropriately to someone’s emotional state.
So what does this mean for parents and caregivers? It suggests that even very young children are capable of developing strong emotional intelligence, and that we can encourage and nurture these skills from an early age. By modeling empathy and compassion in our own behavior, and encouraging our children to express their own emotions and respond to those of others, we can help them to become caring, empathetic individuals who are able to navigate complex emotions and relationships throughout their lives.We also have another guide where we talk about 4 YEAR OLDS DEVELOP HEALTHY SOCIAL SKILLS? .