Social Emotional Development

Birth * Age 2

-----> Temperament

( Refers to the quality and intensity of emotional reactions)

  • Passivity- how actively involved a child is with their surroundings.
  • ( Active infant responds, Passive Infant withdraws)
  • Children differ in level or irritability ( tendency to feel distressed).
  • ( Cry because of change, some are easily soothed)
  • Activity Patterns- Levels of movement.
  • (Some sleep quietly, some make movement, may be restless)

------> Attachment

( The strong emotional connection that develops between people)

  • Become attached to small group of people. ( Mainly those who care for them)
  • Care for and respond to those who are important
  • Quality of attachment depends on adults
  • Ex of Attachment- Coo ,Kick, Gurgling, Laughing, Crying, Clinging, Separation Anxiety
  • Young babies show anxiety if cared for by stranger
  • 9-18 months has difficulty at childcare programs.
  • Less Distress when known

Changes Over Time

( During the first two years after birth, you will see many changes in children socially and emotionally)


@ birth there are no refined emotions ( general distress and general excitement)

Child may show excitement by looking alert, smiling or wiggling

Distress is shown by crying (Sometimes no tears)


  • Children respond to people with smiles and laughter
  • Make happy sounds when held or played with or fed
  • Infants start to notice and smile at other babies
  • Crying is used to show distress (Tears may appear)
  • Different cries with different moments of distress


  • Actively involved with caregivers
  • Express happiness, joy & surprise when cared for
  • Sounds in response to speech
  • Develop fear (Cry in response to stranger)
  • Attachment to caregiver (Cry and anger when left)
  • Attachment may continue until 14-16 months of age.


  • Separation Anxiety begins-Become upset because of something they think will happen in future
  • Interested in exploring
  • Curious about new places & objects
  • More interest in other children
  • Play next to children but not with them
  • Awareness of abilities (Source of joy & anger)
  • Proud and happy when doing things on own
  • Like to say "no" just to see what will happen