What do preschoolers know about justice?

by ParentCo. June 24, 2015

four kids around a table with pens and paper

What do 3 year olds know about justice, empathy, and ownership? What do 5 year olds know? Researchers in the U.K. and Germany recently studied the difference. According to their findings, a shift occurs in those two short years. Using puppets, the researchers staged various acts of injustice, including stealing cookies intended for the child himself, or snatching marbles from another puppet. The difference between the age groups? The five year olds were more apt to serve up punishment while the 3 year olds leaned toward simply wanting to end the suffering of the wronged. It stands to reason, that by the age of 5, children have more exposure to punishment and consequences which may guide their sense of what justice looks like. But what if, like the younger children do naturally, we teach them that justice is more about caring for the victim? This also provides more context for our post about teaching kids to see through misleading claims. Read more about this study via NPR: That's Not Fair! Crime And Punishment In A Preschooler's Mind



Also in Conversations

aerial view family members sweeping the road
No, Really, Your Kids Need to Do Chores

by Mark Oliver

As a member of the household, and in the interest of building skills that they'll need for a lifetime, your kids should be doing chores. Here's the case for why.

Continue Reading

baby playing
5 Things to Know about Baby’s First Steps

by Hannah Howard

For your little one, walking means entering a whole new stage of life, where the world is their oyster. Here’s what to know as your little one learns to walk.

Continue Reading

girl with flower
7 Mess-free Ways to Teach your Child about the Environment

by Maria Dontas

If you’re a busy parent looking for easy, dirt-free ways to celebrate our Earth with your child all year long, here are 7 fun, simple ideas to try with your family.

Continue Reading