Social-Emotional Development

Birth - age 2


Temperament: quality and intensity of emotional reactions

  • factors of temperament are: passivity, irritability and activity patterns
  • passivity relates to how actively involved a child is with their surroundings
  • irritability differs among children
  • activity patterns also vary between children


Attachment: strong emotional connection that develops between people

  • infants become attached to people early on
  • attachment behaviors: cooing, kicking, gurgling and laughing
  • young babies show signs of anxiety when in the care of an unfamiliar person
Separation Anxiety: happens when a child's familiar caregiver leaves, or is not present
  • child will cry
  • reaction becomes clearer around 9 months

Changes Over Time

Birth to 3 months

  • distress and general excitement are mostly shown
  • Excitement is shown by smiling, and distress is shown by crying

3 to 6 months

  • children respond with laughter or smiles
  • start to notice other babies
  • tears start appearing
6 to 12 months

  • infants actively involved with caregivers
  • express happiness, joy, or surprise

Changes Over Time (continued)

12 to 24 months

  • child may show anxiety
  • child becomes more interested in exploring
  • child takes more interest in other children
  • become more self-aware
  • child may say "no"