One of the things I love most about being an aunt is the ability to see my niece grow from a newborn to a spunky 3 year old, who is insistent that she's "not a baby, but a big girl." I've seen her go from claiming everything in site to be hers, to offering me her favorite snacks simply because she wants to share. Though it seems normal, that's actually one of the many clues you're raising an empathetic child — so kuddos to my my sister and brother-in-law for setting such a good example for my niece to follow.
I might be a bit bias because she's my family, but I truly think my niece is one of the kindest and sweetest 3 year olds I've ever encountered. Now, of course, she has her moments where she has the typical mannerisms of a threenager. But for the most part, she's caring and considerate to everyone she meets. Her sense of empathy is incredible at this age and sometimes, I wish I could harbor that same innocent feeling.
So, if you're interested in seeing if you're raising an empathetic child, these seven signs could be a way to point that out.
1They Recognize When Someone Is Hurt
According to psychologist Dr. Michele Borba, an empathetic child can recognize when someone is hurt. If they are able to notice what a person needs through their body language, voice tone, or facial expression, this is a great way to see that they embody empathy.
2They Want To Help Soothe The Hurt
Character noted that children who want to help soothe the pain in others are empathetic, too. For example, if my niece sees anyone sad or if I pretend to cry, she'll come over and offer a hug or a kiss on the forehead.
3They Understand When People Make Mistakes
According to Parents, if your child is understanding when others make mistakes, this is a true habit of empathy. When I play with my niece and do something that isn't according to the rules she's given me, she'll tell me "It's OK, Auntie Kesi," and try to show me how to do it right. And yes, it's pretty much the cutest thing ever.
4They Have An Ambitious Imagination
The Greater Good Science Center noted that having an ambitious imagination could be a trait of empathy for your child. If they can identify with someone that they don't understand or someone that is not like them and respond, this is them developing empathy.
5They Are Aware Of Their Own Feelings
According to The Huffington Post, empathetic children are aware of their own feelings and individuality. Empathetic children can recognize how something makes them feel even if it isn't happening to them directly.
6They Share With Others
Parents also noted that kindness is a key trait for empathetic children. My niece is good at this one because she will literally offer her last gummy to you and ask you if you like it. Not too many adults will even give their last bite to their spouse.
7They Are Always Thinking Of Others
According to Baby Center, empathic children are always thinking of others. When my sister and my niece go to the store, one of the first things she'll say is, "Let's get one for daddy, too!" with almost anything they pick up. If your child has this mindset, empathy is something they possess.