Moral Development at a Young Age
Toddlers and young children often look to adults to articulate what is right and wrong. Even though research suggests that young children may not have the capacity for moral reasoning, Manes says that young children can empathize with others.
“Any discussion of why any behavior is right or wrong should include a simple statement about the effect it has on someone else,” she says. Ask the child to imagine himself in the other person’s position and prompt empathetic thoughts with phrases such as “How do you feel when your friend won’t share the toy you want to play with?” or “When you don’t let Mia have a chance on the slide, she feels sad.”