Arizona Early Childhood Workforce Registry

Activities to Boost Social-Emotional Development: An Age-by-Age Approach (0-5)

September 19, 2017
The Edvocate
Matthew Lynch

Social-emotional development in children is crucial. It includes the child’s ability to understand the feelings of others, manage his emotions, and build relationships with both children and adults.

The following activities are simple ways to help boost your child’s social-emotional development from birth to age 5.

Birth to 12 Months

  • Be responsive to your baby’s needs to give your baby a sense of comfort, safety, and trust.
  • Demonstrate delight in your baby, sending the message that your baby is loved and admired, which will develop his self-esteem.
  • Give your baby plenty of hugs, kisses, and affection.
  • Be patient with your baby even at his most difficult, showing that he can trust you and depend on you.
  • Establish routines for your baby to help him feel safe and confident.
  • In the first year with your baby, establish a secure attachment by showing your baby that he is loved and that he can trust you to care for him and meet his needs.

12 Months to 24 Months

  • Try to nurture your child’s independence by giving him time to figure out a problem on his own.
  • Praise your child’s effort even when he’s not successful, sending the message that you’re proud of your child for trying and being persistent.
  • Play games with your child that require turn-taking to teach self-control and sharing.
  • When your child has trouble waiting for a turn or gets upset, try distracting or redirecting your child. He likely won’t be able to resolve conflict through talking it out just yet.
  • Continue using routines with your child and providing him with a sense of safety and security.

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