Early Childhood

Social and Emotional Development

Family Relationships

  • Family members provide support and encouragement
  • Transitioning from caring for children's needs to guiding their behavior requires and understanding of how young children learn to make decisions themselves
  • Jealousy may occur with a new baby born in the family

Developmetally Appropriate Guidance Techniques

  • Preschoolers have active imaginations and are constantly exploring their environment
  • Guidance and discipline are used to redirect children into a safe or socially acceptable manner
  • Three main types of discipline are power assertion, love withdrawal, and induction
  • Power Assertion involves using physical means to punish or deny children privileges
  • Love Withdrawal includes threatening to remove love, even temporarily, from the caregiver and child relationship
  • Induction is a form of discipline that uses logic and explanation to address a child's action or behavior

Friendships and Play

  • Function play uses repetitive motions such as moving toy cars around or rocking a doll
  • By age 4, children begin more constructive play such as building with construction blocks putting together puzzles, or creating a piece of art out of clay
  • They move from associative play to cooperative play
  • In cooperative play, children build something together or make up elaborate rules to play

Erik Erickson's Theory: Initiative Vs Guilt

  • Through discover and exploration, children learn about their world
  • Show imagination and creativity
  • Learn to take initiative for their place in the world
  • Parents/caregivers should encourage and support their efforts
  • If belittled, ridiculed or criticized may result in child lacking confidence and giving up

Cultural Influences

  • During early childhood, children also learn the expectations that are expected with being a boy or girl
  • They learn what is expected of them in how they should act, how they should feel, and what should be of interest to them. These are called gender roles.
  • Some gender roles are based on biology. Much is based on what children are taught or how they are socialized.

Maslow's Hierachy of Needs

  • Self actualization
  • Self Esteem
  • Love and acceptance
  • Security
  • Physical Needs

Role of Nuturance

In early childhood children have to have their needs met in order to climb up Maslow's Pyramid. In order for their needs to be met, children need to experience their needs being met at an early age. If their needs are not met, this can affect the rest of their life. For example if someone was neglected and abused at a young age it may take them longer to climb up the pyramid, then a person who had all their needs met at a young age.

The effects morals have on social development throughtout the lifespan

Learning what is considered culturally right or wrong is a process. Younger children respond to rewards and punishments instead of making moral decisions.

  • For example: A child may share toys with a playmate to avoid punishment, not because the child is motivated by a sense of caring for the playmate
  • Increased cognitive skills cause children to make up "tall tales" to avoid punishment
  • Children are often concerned about what their parents think of them and whether they are labeled as "good" or "bad"
  • By the end of early childhood, young children can tell the difference between right and wrong
  • Although their judgment is still bases on potential rewards and punishments rather than universal moral truth or family values, they start to care more about doing what is right


In conclusion in early childhood the impact of social and emotional development can greatly affect the rest of their lives and futures.