Social Emotional/Play

As a child grows, he or she will gradually develop an understanding of who they are, what to expect from those around them, what they are feeling, and how to handle those feelings. These concepts are the core of anyone’s social and emotional well-being. They contribute to self-confidence and empathy, allowing a child to develop meaningful, long-lasting friendships and relationships with those around them. A child’s social-emotional development both influences and is influenced by other areas of development, including motor skills, language, and cognitive development. Each of these affects how a child feels about himself and how he or she chooses to express those feelings.

Children with healthy social-emotional development show signs of forming positive and meaningful relationships with others, successfully managing and expressing emotions, engaging with people and objects around them, showing empathy, and are more self-confident. It’s important to foster these developments by providing positive and nurturing experiences from an early age, particularly by the child’s caregivers. These experiences will have a lasting effect on the child’s social-emotional well-being.

Social-emotional milestones can be more difficult to recognize when compared to physical developmental milestones. Early milestones include actions that increase self-awareness and self-control. For instance, babies get to know themselves by playing with their feet and observing their hands. They will react positively to social interactions as they develop an understanding that they are separate people from those around them, and will eventually begin to initiate social interactions of their own.

The Developmental Milestones Guide serves as an essential part of your everyday screenings, treatments, and goal writing sessions. Rather than spending valuable time and effort researching and looking up individual milestones, the Developmental Milestones Guide offers everything you need in one handy place. Download a ready-to-use digital copy of the guide, or order your printed copy today.


Signs of possible social-emotional delays include a lack or unwillingness to interact with others, difficulty or frustration when presented with new objects or situations, and a lack of facial expressions such as smiling. With the Developmental Milestones Guide, professionals are able to quickly and easily identify possible developmental delays in children and begin setting goals with parents that can enable a child to develop healthy, happy lives.

Play is one of the primary occupations of childhood. Through play, children develop a sense of their place in the world, how the world and objects in it work, and how to navigate complex social interactions. Delays in any area of development directly impact a child’s ability to play. This can be due to impaired motor skills, poor social skills, cognitive impairment, or language delays. The Developmental Milestones Guide provides a reference for the normal development of play skills, as well as milestones in the areas of fine and gross motor, sensory processing, visual perception, self care and others that impact play.