Child Development: Social and Emotional Skills

A child’s social and emotional development is evident in every area of their life. A child with a strong foundation should be able to manage personal feelings, empathize with others, and be able to interact accordingly.

A Healthy Example

It’s important that parents and teachers provide positive social and emotional opportunities for children. In turn, they will feel good about themselves, which is the foundation for self-confidence. Although children’s life experiences, genes, and temperament can affect their social-emotional development, providing a positive and healthy example is crucial.


As your newborn grows, their eye contact will increase an they may begin to smile frequently. Infants should respond to their name, and recognize the voices of parents and loved ones. They’ll cry when they’re hungry or want something, and may laugh and coo as well.  This is a period of observations. Infants will often mimic your facial expressions and mannerisms.


Your toddler may be starting to exercise control, explore their boundaries and engage in problem-solving.They are becoming aware of themselves as separate from their parents and may be more enthusiastic about playing with other toddlers. This is the ideal time to expose your child to toddler programs to encourage socialization and education.


Between the ages of 3 to 5, your child becomes better equipped to verbalize emotions, rather than communicating through physical gestures or frustrated outbursts. Children at this age should be slowly learning to share, as their empathy for others grows. They should become less dependent on parents as their sense of identity grows stronger and more secure


Around age 6 children begin to develop bonds with other children. Peer interaction provokes the development of many social skills, such as conflict management (turn-taking, compromise, bargaining) and teamwork. Socialization can be challenging, but how children work through those challenges and help shape their reactions in the future.

Problems With Social and Emotional Skills

Although each child is different, common benchmarks for social and emotional development do exist. If you notice that your child is exhibiting delays or odd behavior, you may want to see their pediatrician. Such warning signs could include an inability to make eye contact, frequent violent outbursts, or self-isolation.

Developing Strong Social and Emotional Skills

For parents and caregivers, it’s crucial to support children as they begin to regulate their emotions and to develop a sense of self in their social environments. The early years of a child’s life should include nurturing, stable and consistent relationships. Young children who exhibit strong social, emotional and behavioral skills are more likely to thrive later in life.

Contact Us for more information about your child’s social and emotional development.