Comprehending the Social and Emotional Development of a Child

**The Edvocate is pleased to publish guest posts as way to fuel important conversations surrounding a P-20 education in America. The opinions contained within guest posts are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of The Edvocate or Dr. Matthew Lynch.**

By JaVohn Perry

Social and Emotional Development is a really important part of a child’s life. It plays a huge part in relationships, conversation skills and other skills needed for personal development. Nurturing a child’s social and emotional development has a large effect on how they proceed into adulthood. For us to help a child develop these skills that he or she will carry on into adulthood, we first need to fully understand Social and Emotional Development. Understanding and knowing the meaning of social and emotional development guides us in the right direction of tending to a child’s needs properly. It should also give clear insight on why a child may be displaying a particular behavior.

Social Development entails becoming skilled at developing constructive companionship with other individuals. This type of development starts very early. When infants react to common voices and recognize the significant individuals in their everyday lives, it is a part of their Social Development. Once they become toddlers, these same skills aid them while they grow to be capable of interacting side by side with peers. As they move on to the preschool stage, they will use the skills to discover how to work together, rotate, give and take, and bargain. These abilities will assist them in interacting positively and get along with other children. All of these social competencies that are acquired early on will help children later on in life. A child’s ability to develop healthy relationships and interact with others is a major skill and becomes very useful as an adult. Once a child learns these skills, they will eventually be able to apply these skills to their school, professional, household and societal lives.

Emotional Development refers to a child’s impression of his or her identity. It also refers to a child’s outlook about other individuals in their lives and the surroundings in which they reside. Emotional Development goes hand and hand with Social Development. Children with a positive sense of self-worth seem to have a positive attitude about being around other people. They usually also tend to be more social and are able to make friends quite easily. We see Emotional Development begin when babies gain strong connections and begin to be grateful for the individuals who care for them. We often see toddlers convey their intense emotions via physical measures. Eventually, they gain the speech and cognitive skills required to identify and relay their emotions. They can then combine those skills with the social skills they learned in the earlier years to convey their feelings. Once they reach the preschool stage, we find that children have many intense emotions. For example, they express enthusiasm, terror, cheerfulness, and rage in a variety of ways. Preschoolers are usually able to learn the vocabulary to explain their feelings. They then learn how to express those feelings in manners that are considered acceptable in their family unit, ethnicity, and society.

It is crucial that we nurture and encourage the Social and Emotional Development of our children. We must start while they are young so they will have the tools they need to grow to be successful adults. Sometimes misreading or ignoring social cues from our children can lead to behavior we may consider unacceptable. It is important to keep in mind that there are usually reasons behind specific behaviors. It’s all about teaching children acceptable ways to convey their needs, wants and messages. Another very important thing to remember is that each child is different. Although there are general developmental milestones, all children don’t develop skills at the same time. In fact, some children may need extra help when it comes to social and emotional development.


JaVohn Perry is a devoted mother of three, Early Childhood Educator, Freelance Writer and Business Owner. As a writer, she holds many titles including Seattle Childhood Education Examiner for With writing and working with children being her two passions, she makes it her duty to utilize her skills in those areas.


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