Social and emotional development

Children’s development in this area follows a path towards emotional maturity and independence. Walking, talking, non-verbal communication and separation from main carers are all stages of this development, that includes the following:

  • Feelings and awareness about themselves
  • Feelings towards other people
  • Development of self-image and identity
  • Relating and making attachments to members of their group
  • Beginning to accept the needs of others; with support
  • Demonstrating a sense of pride in own achievement
  • Learning the ways of life and the society into which they are born
  • Having a positive approach to new experiences
  • Feeling safe and secure
  • Showing curiosity

A child of 2 to 3 years will be starting to assert themselves as they learn that they are separate from other people. This can be frustrating if they cannot express what they want and will often lead to tantrums. They will be becoming aware of their gender and playing with their peers, starting to make friends and learning social skills such as sharing.

They will start to develop empathy around the age of 3 or 4 and understand how others are affected by their actions and the actions of those around them.

As they reach the age of 5, they will begin to show a sense of humour and will enjoy doing more things independently such as dressing and washing their hands.

Emotional and social development

Table 2: Emotional and Social Development