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What You Should Know About Your Child’s Social and Emotional Development

Social and Emotional Development

You know that your little one grows at a remarkable rate, but do you know about all the aspects of his or her social and emotional development? This complex ability to react and interact with the environment includes a variety of components: temperament, attachment, social skills and social competence, emotional regulation and impulse control, and sense of self. Nurturing your child’s social and emotional development is imperative to their growth across a large swath of areas. These abilities teach them trust and confidence, act as a predictor for academic success later in life, and are critical to their development as a well-rounded, healthy child. Here’s what you should know about your child’s social and emotional development. 

Basic timeline for emotional development

Within the first year, your little one will begin expressing the basic emotions of anger, sadness, distress, joy, and surprise. Around seven months, they will show true anger and displeasure, as well as disgust. Along with these negative emotions, your child will begin to exhibit anxiety and a sense of “stranger danger.”  They will recognize when they’re interacting with someone new and will respond with anxiety around being separated from their primary caregiver. This nervousness around strangers is a good sign that your child is developing healthy attachment and bonding abilities with those whom they see regularly. 

Near the nine-month mark, your little one will start showing signs of fear. In their fifteenth month, expect to see signs of guilt for poor behavior. The eighteen-month mark sees lots of growth with the development of pride, shame, jealousy, and frustration.  At this age, our Feelings box is a great way to help your child recognize these emotions and to help them understand what it all means. By the time your child is twenty-four months old, they will start showing signs of embarrassment.

Surprisingly, your little one will also develop self-esteem and empathy skills in the first few years of life. These are important aspects of their sense of self for you to support, encourage, and model from the get-go. 

How to best support your child’s social and emotional development

The best thing you can do for your child is to start teaching them about their emotions. Supporting the understanding and acceptance of their emotions from early on helps your child effectively manage their feelings as they continue to grow. Here are the best ways to do  this:

--Teach them not to fear their emotions, but rather to embrace them. This goes for you, too! Don’t be scared of the sour moods; let your child sulk if they need to. 

--Take the mindset that there are no right or wrong feelings to express, and don’t minimize whatever emotion they are expressing. 

--Start early! Tune into your little one’s cues and respond accordingly. This helps validate  their feelings and shows that you are a supportive source of safety and acceptance. 

--Label emotions as they appear. This helps your child identify what they are feeling and encourages vocabulary growth. 

--As your child grows, help them develop appropriate coping mechanisms. You want them to be able to feel and express the range of emotions and do so in a manner that will continue to help  them as they grow up. 

--Lastly, be a role model! Your child watches and learns  from what you do, so modeling skills around emotions and coping skills is paramount.

One of the easiest ways to help your child develop in a healthy manner is through play, which is why we created Pooka Box. Our subscription service delivers the best games, toys, and activities that are developmentally appropriate for each stage of your little one’s first few years. To learn more about our products and how we can support your family, click here. 

This summer we’re including a pair of Pooka Eyes in every box we ship. Post a picture of your little one wearing their Pooka Eyes on Facebook, Instagram or  Twitter, tag Pooka Box and use the hashtag #pookaplaytime to be entered into a random drawing for a top secret Pooka Box. We are so excited to see your entries! 


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