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Shows Evidence of Empathy (20-24 Months)

During the second year, children begin to show empathy to others who are upset or hurt. By 18 months, children are becoming increasingly self-aware, and with this insight, children are also becoming more aware of the feelings of others. In one study, a group of mothers pretended to be hurt or sad to see how their children would respond. By 18 months, many children attempted to bring comfort by patting/hugging, asking if their mothers were OK, or trying to bring bandages or a blanket. Although children may not show empathy every time, as they get closer to age 2, they tend to show more empathy.


Zahn-Waxler, C., Radke-Yarrow, K., Wagner, E., & Chapman, M. (1992). Development of concern for others. Developmental Psychology, 28, 126