Jason Bateman's children have made him more ''empathetic.''

The 'Arrested Development' actor has daughters, Francesca, seven, and Maple, two, with wife Amanda Anka and they inspired him to volunteer at City Year, an organisation which aims to help less fortunate children get excited about their education.

He said: ''Having children, I've become ever more empathetic. You see your kids discovering all these different things, and the notion that they might not get access to an education that they deserve or become disinterested in school is just heart-breaking.

''It's a curiosity that needs to be constantly fed, and City Year, which sends volunteers into schools to support at-risk students, does that.

''Over the past five years, I've gotten a chance to mix with some of the students and corps members and staff. There is an infectious spirit that runs through both those that are receiving and those that are giving. There's something special about spreading this excitement about education and knowledge. It's what living is about.''

Jason, 45, who started acting an a child, enjoys watching his own kids learn things but admits he has to be careful about what he says in front of them.

He told People magazine: ''As a parent, it's really fun to see how much a child can simply absorb. They are taking things in all day every day, and frankly, 90 percent of what we learn is through osmosis.''