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Discussions » Development (Social, Physical & Emotional) » Social and Emotional milestones

Writer Message
Nuala O'Neill
4.8.2015 0:50

         From birth to 3 months

         During the first three months, babies are actively learning about themselves and the people around them. Part of this skill-building involves:

  • Looking at their own hands and sucking on fingers
  • Looking at the part of their body that a parents or caregiver is touching
  • Understanding how the legs and arms are attached
  • Realizing that they are separate beings from those around them
  • Learning to be comforted and soothed by adults
  • Enjoying social stimulation and smiling at people
  • Responding to touch

    From 3 to 6 Months

    Social interaction becomes increasingly important. During this period of development, most babies begin to:

    • Respond when their name is said
    • Smile
    • Laugh
    • Play peek-a-boo

    From 6 to 9 Months

    As babies get older, they may begin to show a preference for familiar people. Between the ages of six to nine months, most children can:

    • Express a number of emotions including happiness, sadness, fear, and anger
    • Distinguish between familiar family and friends and strangers
    • Show frustration when a toy is taken away
    • Respond to spoken words and gestures

    From 9 to 12 Months

    As children become more social, they often begin to mimic the actions of others. Self-regulation also becomes increasingly important at the child approaches one year of age. Most kids can:

    • Hold a cup and drink with help
    • Imitate simple actions
    • Feed themselves small bites of food
    • Express anxiety when separated from parents or caregivers

    From 1 to 2 Years

    From the age of one to two years, kids often spend more time interacting with a wider range of people. They also start to gain a greater sense of self-awareness. At this stage, most can:

    • Recognize their own image in the mirror
    • Initiate play activities
    • Play independently, often imitating adult actions
    • Act pleased when the accomplish something
    • Start trying to help, often by putting toys away
    • Express negative emotions including anger and frustration
    • Become more self-assertive and may try to direct the actions of others

    From 2 to 3 Years

    During the toddler years, kids become more and more creative and confident. At two years old, most kids begin to:

    • Become aware that they are a boy or girl
    • Begin to dress and undress themselves
    • Demonstrate personal preferences about toys, food, and activities
    • Start saying "No" to adults
    • Enjoy watching and playing with other children
    • Become defensive about their own possessions
    • Use objects symbolically during play
    • Often have rapid changes in mood

    From 3 to 4 Years

    Because three-year-olds are becoming increasingly able to perform physical actions, their sense of confidence and independence becomes more pronounced at this age. During the third year, most children begin to:

    • Follow directions
    • Perform some tasks with little or no assistance
    • Share toys with other kids
    • Make up games and ask other children to join in
    • Begin engaging in pretend play

    From 4 to 5 Years

    During the fourth year, children gain a greater awareness of their own individuality. As their physical skills increase, they are more capable of exploring their own abilities which can help lead to great confidence and personal pride. At this age, most kids begin to:

    • Understand basic differences between good and bad behavior
    • Develop friendships with other kids
    • Compare themselves to other children and adults
    • Become more aware of other people’s feelings
    • Enjoy dramatic, imaginative play with other children
    • Enjoy competitive games
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