Social and Emotional Skills

Social and Emotional Skills at 2 months

  • Begins to smile at people
  • Can self-calm (may suck hand or thumb)
  • Tries to look at parent

Social and Emotional Skills at 4 months

  • Smiles spontaneously, especially at people
  • Likes to play with people and might cry when playing stops
  • Copies some movements and facial expressions, like smiling or frowning

Social and Emotional Skills at 6 months

  • Knows familiar faces and begins to know if someone is a stranger
  • Likes to play with others, especially parents
  • Responds to other people’s emotions and often seems happy
  • Likes to look at self in a mirror

Social and Emotional Skills at 9 months

  • May be afraid of strangers
  • May be clingy with familiar adults
  • Has favorite toys

Social and Emotional Skills at 12 months

  • Is shy or nervous with strangers
  • Cries when mom or dad leaves
  • Has favorite things and people
  • Shows fear in some situations
  • Hands you a book when he wants to hear a story
  • Repeats sounds or actions to get attention
  • Puts out arm or leg to help with dressing
  • Plays games such as “peek-a-boo” and “pat-a-cake”

Social and Emotional Skills at 18 months

  • Likes to hand things to others as play
  • May have temper tantrums
  • May be afraid of strangers
  • Shows affection to familiar people
  • Plays simple pretend, such as feeding a doll
  • May cling to caregivers in new situations
  • Points to show others something interesting
  • Explores alone but with parent close by

Social and Emotional Skills at 2 years

  • Copies others, especially adults and older children
  • Gets excited when with other children
  • Shows more and more independence
  • Shows defiant behavior (doing what he has been told not to)
  • Plays mainly beside other children, but is beginning to include other children, such as in chase games

Social and Emotional Skills at 3 years

  • Copies the behavior of adults and friends
  • Shows affection for friends without prompting
  • Takes turns in games
  • Shows concern for crying friend
  • Understands the idea of “mine” and “his” or “hers”
  • Shows a wide range of emotions
  • Separates easily from mom and dad
  • May get upset with major changes in routine

Social and Emotional Skills at 4 years

  • Cooperates with other children
  • Enjoys doing new things
  • Plays “Mom” and “Dad”
  • Is more and more creative with make-believe play
  • Would rather play with other children than by himself
  • Cooperates with other children
  • Talks about what she likes and what she is interested in

Social and Emotional Skills at 5 years

  • Wants to please and be like friends
  • Likes to be center of attention
  • More likely to agree with rules
  • Likes to sing, dance, and act
  • Shows concern and sympathy for others
  • Is aware of gender
  • Shows more independence
  • Is sometimes demanding but sometimes very cooperative