Social and Emotional Development

Component 1: Relationships with Others

Standard 1.a: Children develop trust in and engage positively with adults who are familiar and consistently present in children’s lives.

By the following age ranges, children typically, for example:

  • Socialize with preferred adults by reciprocally smiling, laughing, or vocalizing
  • “Converse” with familiar adults by imitating or making faces at adults who make faces at them
  • Relax when picked up and held by a familiar adult
  • Search for an adult caregiver who might be out of sight
  • Engage in turn-taking interactions, such as peek-a-boo
  • Repeat actions that elicit social responses from others
  • Imitate adult behavior by repeating and practicing through play (e.g., sweeping with a toy broom, “talking” on a cell phone)
  • Use gestures, body language, and/or vocalizations to seek out help from a preferred adult
  • Participate in back-and-forth games with adults
  • Seek comfort from a preferred adult when tired or hungry (coregulation)
  • Expand their exploration of their environment in the presence of trusted adults, and regularly check in (visually or physically) with these adults when experiencing stress or uncertainty
  • From time to time look to familiar adult for reassurance when a stranger is present
  • Imitate by continuing to repeat actions they have seen long after they have seen them
  • Initiate play and interactions with familiar adults (e.g., pretending to drive a car or bake a cake)
  • Interact with adults to meet needs and wants, communicating through gestures, facial expressions, and simple words
  • Continue to seek out the primary adults in their life as their secure base (using simple words as well as regular visual or physical contact) while playing or exploring the environment and when uncertain (coregulation)
  • Look to and seek approval non-verbally when engaging in a difficult task
  • Seek adult assistance when challenged
  • Demonstrate affection for familiar adults
  • Seek comfort from an adult after falling down or getting hurt (coregulation)
  • Interact with adults to solve problems or communicate about experiences or ideas
  • Seeks adult attention when exploring or trying a new skill
  • Seek approval from adults
  • Separate from trusted adults with minimal distress when in familiar settings or with familiar and trusted adults
  • Engage in back-and-forth conversations with trusted adults
  • Express joy with trusted adult when demonstrating an achievement or mastery in play (e.g., excitement over building a tall block tower; walking across the balance beam with limited assistance)
  • Maintain well-being while apart from parents or primary caretakers when in familiar settings or with familiar and trusted adults
  • Have a close relationship with a consistent non-parental caregiver, showing interest in the adult’s feelings, preferences, and well-being and sharing their experiences (coregulation)
  • Participate in longer and more reciprocal interactions (when interacting with familiar adults in role play, games, or structured activities) and take greater initiative in social interaction (including turn taking)

Standard 1.b: Children engage in positive relationships and interactions with other children.

By the following age ranges, children typically, for example:

  • Babble and smile to show their interest in other children
  • Intently watch other babies and children, especially their faces
  • Track the activity of other children and notice/ move toward others when hearing sounds of excitement
  • Reach out to touch other children’s hair, face, etc.
  • Engage in positive interactions with other children while supervised
  • Imitate and respond to other children’s actions and behaviors
  • Play alone or engage in parallel play (e.g., play next to but not directly involved in another child’s play)
  • Recognize and respond differently to younger children
  • Demonstrate interest or concern for a peer who is hurt, fallen, or in distress
  • Recognize the idea of possessions (e.g., acting as though they own something) and demonstrate an understanding of “mine” and “not mine”
  • Predominately use parallel play (next to others) while trying out associative play (sharing toys or commenting on the play of others)
  • Watch and copy other children’s play activities
  • Seek assistance from an adult caregiver in resolving conflicts with other children
  • Understand how to take turns during play with other children, with adult guidance and assistance
  • Participate in associative play with other children (e.g., engaging in separate play activities while occasionally sharing toys or commenting on another child’s play)
  • Share and take turns using materials
  • Suggest solutions to conflicts, with adult guidance and assistance
  • Initiate play and conversations with other children
  • Participate in pretend play with other children
  • Express how another child or storybook character might feel
  • Notice and show concern for peers’ feelings
  • Comfort peers when they are hurt or upset, with adult guidance and assistance
  • Make decisions with other children, with adult guidance and assistance
  • Demonstrate consideration for and cooperation with other children
  • Prefer to play with one or two special friends
  • Suggest solutions to conflicts
  • Demonstrate an ability to compromise when working or playing in a group
  • Sustain interactions with friends for increasing periods of time
  • Successfully enter into play when a group of children are already involved
  • Can identify the causes of other children’s emotions (e.g., “they are sad because . . .”)
Scroll to Top