Social and Emotional Development

Component 3: Emotional Recognition and Regulation

Standard 3.a: Children develop the ability to identify, express, and manage their emotions

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

  • Demonstrate the ability to self-soothe (calm down) through behaviors such as babbling, thumb/fist sucking, or rocking
  • Calm down when talked to, held, or rocked by a preferred caregiver
  • Express a range of emotions (e.g., joy, excitement, or sadness) through facial expressions, gestures, signs, and/or sound
  • Self-soothe when offered a special toy or blanket in combination with caregiver nurturance
  • Look to a trusted adult for comfort when upset or stressed
  • Demonstrate joy, pleasure, and excitement in learning to do new things
  • Accept a security toy or blanket to self-soothe
  • Demonstrate familiarity with routines
  • Demonstrate strong emotions, such as anger, through actions (e.g., falling down on the floor and kicking their legs— throwing a “tantrum”) and calm down with caregiver assistance
  • Express emotions (e.g., happiness, sadness, or anger) through singing and pretend play (in addition to “tantrums”)
  • Calm themselves down after a temper tantrum in a reasonable amount of time with caregiver assistance
  • Comfort themselves by seeking out a special toy, object, or caregiver
  • Use words to express their emotions
  • Are increasingly able to regulate their impulses in certain situations (e.g., waiting their turn for a favored toy)
  • Can express emotions using words, signs, or other communication methods
  • Take pride in their accomplishments
  • Continue to use physical ways of expressing themselves when their feelings are intense (e.g., throwing things, pounding)
  • React appropriately to strong emotions most of the time
  • Persist at a difficult task with decreasing amounts of frustration
  • Can name emotions using words, signs, or other communication methods

Standard 3.b: Children develop the ability to manage impulses and express emotions appropriately even in challenging situations.

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

  • Exhibit the ability to wait for a desired object or person
  • Amuse themselves for a short period of time
  • Respond to verbal requests to alter their behavior, sometimes continuing with the behavior and sometimes accepting the redirection
  • Say “no” to express their unwillingness (or sign “no” if they have been taught to sign)
  • Respond to redirection most of the time
  • Once redirected, change focus to the new object, person, or play
  • Participate in routines with adult guidance
  • Follow simple rules most of the time
  • Control impulses (e.g., walking around—rather than through—a puddle when directed)
  • Adapt their behavior to the environment (e.g., shifting from an “outside voice” to an “inside voice”)
  • Adjust to changes in daily routines with preparation and adult assistance
  • Usually follow rules and expectations in familiar settings
  • Adjust to changes in routines and activities
  • Ask or wait for adult permission before doing something they are unsure about
  • Use materials with purpose, safety, and respect
  • Can delay having desires met (e.g., agreeing to the use of a timer to indicate their turn for a computer)
  • Stop an engaging activity to transition to another less desirable activity with adult guidance and support
  • With adult assistance, demonstrate control over actions, words, and emotions in response to a situation
  • Follow rules and apply them to new situations and environments (e.g., putting their coat in a cubby at school but hanging it on a peg at home)
  • Participate in group activities for increasing amounts of time
  • Consistently demonstrate the ability to stop an engaging activity to transition to another less desirable activity
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