social skills for kids

Social & Emotional Development In Early Childhood

Social & Emotional Development In Early Childhood

Amongst other developmental milestones, a child’s social & emotional development top the list with golden perks. That’s because inculcating such developmental abilities are habitually linked to a child’s behavioral responses & understanding. And with the rising potential for enhanced emotional awareness and social skills, this is a fine opportunity to help your toddler to communicate their emotions better. 

We at Tickle Right, are aware of the right methods to plant the seeds of emotional development catering to all kinds of experiences. As kids undergo different emotions at this age, like instant mood swings, temper flare-ups, fussiness, & others. It becomes important to manage these reactions to establish a healthy behavior for the future. Because you must not forget that your child expresses these emotions without even understanding them right now. 

Your toddler at this age is likely at the most appropriate period to be acquiring these skills & laying the foundation for essential social skills. So, taking account of such an early age, it’s crucial to train emotion regulation from methods like experiences, relationships, & storytelling. This helps develop empathy & an understanding to pursue early relationships with reasonable affinity. 


What Is Social & Emotional Development? 

Social & emotional development refers to the process where a child learns to understand, express, & manage their emotions in the early years. This includes a child’s potential to engage in emotions the right way to build future relationships appropriately. Managing both positive & negative feelings comes from developing empathy & a sense of both right and wrong.

Social-emotional skills are crucial for connecting your child to you & the outside world. It’s believed that your little one starts to learn & acquire these skills from the beginning itself. This happens right after they are exposed to people around them after birth. And you, as parents, can escalate the process by nurturing your kids to gain socio-emotional awareness. These skills will also help your child perform better in school & workplace later in life. The following are the domains under which these skills are taught for untroubled growth:

  1. Reasonable Temperament
  2. Emotion Regulation
  3. Empathy
  4. Social Skills
  5. Affection


Benefits Of Social & Emotional Development In Early Childhood

During the 0-3 years of a child’s life, there’s a divine scope for incredible growth in all domains of development. As you must be aware that your child’s brain is profuse with more than a million neural connections by this time. These connections can be further stimulated depending on the early relationships, experiences, and exposure to the environment. 

As parents, you have the power to render social-emotional development skill-set to your little one, as they come in contact with you most often. This is a real-time chance for your child to learn to interact with people around. And not to forget, your child is a born linguistic master! What you tend to do around your child most often, they’ll imitate your actions. Therefore, your child shall be impacted by direct physical, sensory, and social experiences to develop empathy & awareness of the world around them:

  1. Helps your child understand, respond, & manage their emotions 
  2. Helps develop linguistic skills & communication skills to interact with people.
  3. Caters to problem-solving skills, when your little one indulges in cooperative plays or engages with people around them.
  4. Makes a child aware of the surroundings & prone to social experiences to develop an understanding
  5. Simple pretend plays help a child comprehend different roles, gain knowledge, & develop empathy with words.
  6. Helps a child be aware of others’ feelings & sensitive responses to practice emotional intelligence.


social skills for kids

How To Develop Social & Emotional Skills In Kids?

A child begins to develop some sense of their surroundings right after their birth. And as parents, you are your child’s biggest supporter in advancing social/emotional development. Your child is closest to you at this stage, & it’s important to continue building over that. Consistent exposure with family members, caregivers, & teachers helps foster early relationships. And to nurture your child, the right way, focusing on emotional development with other important skillsets helps a child develop empathy.

Besides, even recent research suggests a strong link between social-emotional development & academic brilliance at later stages. Help your child explore & learn from their biggest role models in this way:

  • Express affection – By the means of hugs, cuddles, massages, and speaking to your child, you can manifest your love towards your child. 
  • Be responsive – Your child looks forward to you in many aspects. Be present to answer their cries, hunger, & outbursts. 
  • Show encouragement – Encourage your child to try out new activities & games. Encourage their curiosity & answer their questions.
  • Daily schedules – It’s important to set daily routines for your child. Don’t expect your child to get used to it in a day’s time. Be patient & instill organizational behavior this way.
  • Sharing is caring – Engage your toddler with other kids around. This generates a sense of interaction when your child plays around. This will help them express & bond better with one another.
  • Encourage ExtracurricularsExtracurricular activities at an early age help make the best of your child’s potential. Your child is exposed to numerous skills like cognitive development, gross motor skills, communication skills & empathy at its best. 

Social & Emotional Development Milestones In Kids

Yes, another milestone! With the magical impact of socio-emotional development skills, your toddler learns to express emotions, communicate positively with others, and develop subconscious independence. These are some of the critical skills your toddler will get used to over time for wholesome brain development. It’s important to remember that every child is unique & these are crucial years to get the ball rolling. It’s time to identify the results of laying the foundation. 

social skills for kids

  1. 2-Month-Old Child

  • Smiles at the nearby people
  • Explore the surroundings
  • Crying for needs
  • Glaring at parents
  • Sucking their hands/fingers


  1. 4-Month-Old Child

  • More instant smiling
  • Social interaction
  • Playing with people
  • Facial expressions – fussiness/frowning
  • Develops environmental awareness 


  1. 6-Month-Old Child

  • Responding to emotions
  • Identifies familiar faces & strangers
  • Enjoys looking in the mirror
  • Enjoys playing with others
  • Laughs more often


  1. 9-Month-Old Child

  • Stranger anxiety
  • Develops fondness for a few toys
  • Understands a few words
  • Cries if caregiver departs
  • Holding up to familiar faces


  1. 12-Month-Old Child

  • Hesitant with strangers
  • Able to express fear
  • Copy/repeat sounds & actions
  • Fond of their favorite people
  • Loves easy games like peek-a-boo


  1. 1 to 2-Year-Old Child

  • Recurrent temper tantrums
  • Clingy with familiar faces
  • Seeks attention
  • Claim independence
  • Simple pretend plays


  1. 2 to 3-Year-Old Child

  • Imitate adults around
  • Expresses a range of emotions
  • Communicate emotions better – sharing toys/affection
  • Engage in cooperative play
  • Separate easily from parents


  1. 3 to 4-Year-Old Child

  • Gender awareness
  • Contemplates others’ feelings
  • Cooperative play with other kids
  • More aware & independent
  • Able to figure out reality & make-believe



social skills for kids

  1. What is socio-emotional development in early childhood?

Social & emotional development in early childhood refers to wholesome development linked to a child’s well-being & capability to interact with others around them. It’s very important to be brought up in a way that highlights a child’s individuality. It helps to develop a positive attitude down the line. You can also associate their growth in the domains of cognitive enhancement & emotional intelligence with the learning of the right socio-emotional skills. Other than that, this helps lay the foundation of early relationships & stages better communication everywhere. You must remember that instilling the right skills at a young age will have a positive impact on a child’s later stages, like schooling, workplace, & others.


  1. What is an example of socioemotional development?

Socioemotional development in toddlers is about a child’s awareness of the surroundings & the ability to connect with people in the same surrounding. Some suitable examples related to such development can be:

  • Expressing & identifying emotions – sadness, happiness, tantrums, affection
  • Engaging with other children – cooperative play, simple pretend play
  • Understanding the emotions & feelings of people around
  • Developing facial expressions over time
  • Engaging in a wide range of emotions 


  1. How do you encourage social-emotional development in early childhood?

When you welcome your child into the world, the chances are that you have the highest impact on their social-emotional behavior. Consider yourself your child’s first role models. Because even as a little baby, a child often picks up their parent’s actions & imitates them which is very common. You must also encourage your child to respond to social & emotional interactions. And this is what you can do to help them do so:

  • Focus on early relationships – show affection & love to your child.
  • Motivate your child to try new games & activities. Test their potential.
  • Familiarize your child with the outside world & let them explore. Try walks in a park. 
  • Establish trusting relationships by expressing to your toddler
  • Build empathy by the means of storytelling, social experiences, & others.
  • Set daytime & nighttime routines to instill organization skills & predict their behavior.



Social & emotional development in your children transmits the ability to perceive themselves & people around them. These skills set them apart from other children in unique ways. It builds upon a child’s discernment to develop a healthy conscious & be reasonable about right & wrong. As parents, it’s your responsibility to provide a positive environment for your child, so they develop a  full social/emotional capacity. Your child will eventually form secure relationships over the foundation of emotional intelligence, empathy, & great social skills.

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