Social development stages in Early Childhood : Social Development

Social development stages in Early Childhood

Emotional and social development in children focuses on self-concept, independence and friendship. Photo Credit Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

The social and emotional development of your child helps you understand the behaviors your child exhibits. Though children develop and mature at different rates, social and emotional development generally occurs in predictable stages. An understanding of these stages will help you determine the normalcy of your child's behaviors.

A psychiatrist, Erik Erikson, proposed trust versus mistrust as the first social-emotional stage of child development. This stage occurs from the age of 0 to 2 years, when the child develops a sense of trust, security and optimism or, if poorly adjusted, develops mistrust and insecurity. During this stage of social-emotional development, your child develops a sense of self-concept and forms attachment. Your baby will explore his body, sucking on his fingers, exploring his hands and looking at the place on his body where you touch him. Your baby responds positively to touch and begins to show emotions through his reactions to people and situations, according to the Illinois Early Learning Project. At this stage your baby also shows preference for caregivers as he begins to differentiate between friends and strangers, and may become anxious when separated from his preferred caregiver, according to the PBS website.

Autonomy versus shame, the second stage of social-emotional development according to Erikson, occurs between the ages of 2 and 4 years old. This stage determines whether a child will develop a sense of pride in her autonomy or shame and insecurity. At this stage of development, your child begins to show pride in accomplishments and becomes more assertive, directing others and feeling comfortable telling others "no." Your child has more fully developed her sense of self-awareness, identifying herself by gender and evaluating herself as good, bad or attractive, according to a PBS report. According to the Illinois Early Learning Project, emotions during this stage often prove unpredictable with frequent highs and lows. Unable to understand the need for limits, rules and restrictions frequently results in temper tantrums. Although aggressiveness at this age tends to increase, your child will also work out disagreements with friends and learn to share and take turns.

Emotional & Social Development in Early Childhood

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