Social-Emotional Development

Birth to age 2


Temperament: the quality & intensity of emotional reactions

Measured based on factors such as ...

  • Passivity
  • Irritability
  • Activity patterns

Passivity- how involved child is with his/her surroundings

Irritability- tendency to feel distressed

Activity patterns- levels of movement

Caregivers must be sure to adjust to the temperaments of infants.


Attachment: strong emotional connection that develops between people

Attachment behaviors include...

  • Cooing
  • Kicking
  • Gurgling
  • Laughing
  • Crying
  • Clinging

Separation anxiety is another behavior.

Child will protest and show distress.

Remember to never take SA personally.

Changes over Time

Changes occur both socially and emotionally.

Birth-3 months

  • General excitement (smiling, wiggling)
  • General distress (crying)
  • No tears when child cries

3-6 months

  • Respond with smiles and laughter
  • Make happy sounds
  • Babies begin to notice and smile at other babies
  • Tears begin to appear
  • Different cries

6-12 months

  • Express happiness, joy, and surprise
  • Develop fear
  • Attachment
  • Separation anxiety

12-24 months

  • Anxiety develops
  • Take more interest in other children
  • Awareness of abilities