Social- Emotional Development

Birth-age 2


  • Refers to quality and intensity of emotional reactions
  • 3 factors are passivity, irritability, activity patterns
  • Passivity- actively involved child is with surroundings
  • Irritability- tendency to feel distressed
  • Activity Patterns- levels of movement
  • Temperaments vary with each child


  • emotional connection that develops between people
  • Attach to people who care for them

-mothers, fathers, caregivers, older siblings

  • Attachment behaviors are shown by infants:

-kicking, gurgling, laughing, crying, clinging

  • Separation anxiety- child protests because a familiar caregiver is leaving
  • Child cries as a sign of stress
  • Signs show at 6 months of age
  • Strongest at 15 months of age
  • Gradually weakens after this point

Changes over Time

Birth to three months:

  • Do not have refined emotions
  • General excitement and distress are only emotions
  • Excitement shown by smiling or wiggling
  • Distress shown by crying
  • No tears when child cries

Three to six months:

  • Respond to people with smiles and laughter
  • Make happy sounds when held or fed
  • start to notice and smile at other babies
  • Crying still used to show distress
  • Tears begin to appear
  • Use different cries to signal distress

Six to twelve months:

  • Actively involved with caregivers
  • When played with, children express happiness
  • Make sounds in response to speech
  • Have developed attachment to their caregivers
  • May cry at sight of strangers
  • May be most difficult stage for parent
  • Separation anxiety starts now

Twelve to twenty-four months:

  • Separation anxiety shown early in this stage
  • become more interested in exploring
  • Still fear the unfamiliar
  • Curious about new places and objects
  • Become interested in other children
  • Become aware of self abilities

- this becomes a source of joy and anger

  • Say "no" to see what will happen