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Social-Emotional Development

Emotional development is the growth of a child's ability to feel and express an increasing range of emotions appropriately. Social development is the growth of a child's ability to relate to others and become independent.

At Birth

Babies begin to learn as soon as they are born, but at this stage their behaviour and communication with adults are limited. Babies cry to make their needs known and are peaceful when those needs are met. At this stage babies:

1 Month

At this stage babies smile spontaneously, but they begin to smile in happenings outside themselves from 4-8 weeks. They learn to smile to your voice and face and are also attracted to the movement of your face. At this stage babies:

2 Months

From 2 months babies have less primitive reactions and gradually learn a range of responses and behaviour. These are the results of both physical maturation and the beginning to explore the environment. At this stage the baby is capable of having 'conversations' with the carer. These are a mixture of gestures and noises, but follow the pattern of a conversation in that one person is quiet while the other speaks. At this stage babies:

3 Months

At this stage babies take a lot of interest in their environment. Physical maturation continues rapidly. When they hear different sound babies turn their heads in response to see what people are doing. They are rapidly beginning to learn new social skills from the people around them. Around this stage babies:

6 Months

Development at this stage is very rapid. Babies are awake for much longer periods by 6 months. Babies laugh, show excitement and delight and will also show likes and dislikes. Around this age infants:

9 Months

By this age, infants will have formed strong attachments with their main carer(s). They will also usually have begun to move around independently. They take pleasure in playing with their carers and learn a great deal from this interaction. Around this age infants:

12 Months

By this stage, most children have started to stand independently and possibly have begun to walk. They can pick up small objects and to explore their environment around them. By this age infants:

15 Months

At this stage toddlers use their main carer as a safe base from which to explore the world. They are anxious and apprehensive about being physically separated from them, and tend to be very much 'under the feet' of their carers. They are very curious about their environment and their exploration of it can lead to conflicts with their carers. By this stage children:

18 Months

Children are very egocentric at this stage. They are often defiant and resistant at this stage. They have only recently discovered themselves as separate individuals. Their defiant behaviour can be seen as an attempt to protect themselves and their individuality. At this stage children:

2 Years

Children at this stage are capable of a wide range of feelings and able to empathise with the feelings of those close to them. For example if their carer is upset, they are capable of trying to comfort them. They are able to use symbols in language and these newly acquired linguistic skills enable children to achieve new levels of social development. At this stage children

3 Years

Children are usually happier at this stage of their development and are more contented than during their previous years. They have gained a certain amount of physical and emotional control. This can lead to more settled feelings and more balance in the way they express them. They are generally friendly and helpful in their manner to others. At this stage children

4 Years

At this stage children are constantly trying to understand and make sense of their experiences and of the world around them. By this age children

5 Years

At this age children achieve a level of balance, self-containment and independence. They are usually friendly, willing to talk to anyone, and are able to be polite. By this age children

6-7 Years

At this stage children grow steadily more independent and are sociable. They are generally self-confident and friendly; they are able to co-operate in quite sophisticated ways with adults and children. Their peer group becomes increasingly significant to them. At 6 years children

At 7 years children



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