An adorable clip of two toddlers has gone viral over it's pure sweetness. One of the toddlers asks his toddler friend if he is ok. Although his friend said yes, he sounded very sad. The toddler noticed it and immediately reaches out to his friend to give him a hug. It truly is heartwarming to see such care and love coming from a tiny human. See the video below.

After watching the video, it got me to thinking about how amazing it is that toddlers already know empathy.  After wondering what age that usually starts to kick in, I did some research. Empathy is the ability to imagine how someone else feels in a particular situation and to respond with care.

According to Zero to Three, understanding and showing empathy is the result of many social-emotional skills that are developing in the first years of life. It all starts with establishing a secure, strong, and loving relationship with the parents. Around 6 months old, babies start using social referencing. For example, a 7-month old looks carefully at her father as he greets a visitor to make sure they are safe. Between 18 and 24 months old, toddlers are developing a theory of mind. They start to realize that he or she is not the only one that has feelings and thoughts. This is also when they start recognizing one’s self in a mirror, which means the child then has an understanding of himself as a separate person.

Peter Macdiarmid, Getty Images

The Zero to Three article also give practical tips to help infants and toddlers develop empathy and understand that others have feelings too. Some of the ways they mention to nurture empathy in your toddler are empathizing with your child, talking to your child about other’s feelings, and suggesting how they can show empathy.

For more of the Zero to Three article, click here.

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