Social Development Milestones
Child Care in Minnesota
Social development is an important part of a child’s growth and is connected to many other pieces of a child’s overall development. Socializing your child at a young age is important and can help them develop different skills and understand more about themselves and others. When it comes to a child’s social development, enrolling them in preschool or a child care center can allow them to have more social interactions and begin to reach different developmental milestones.
At Yellow Brick Road Early Childhood Development Center, we work with each of our students to help them reach a variety of different developmental milestones. Our child care center focuses on allowing children to grow and learn in a nurturing and stimulating environment while developing these different skills.
This is a socializing resource for parents to help you learn the milestones and how to help your child with social development. If you are looking for a child care center that can help your little one socialize and develop new skills, be sure to schedule a tour at one of our Yellow Brick Road locations
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Where It Begins
A baby’s socialization begins with you. As a parent, you are the first person to play with your child. You interact with them on a daily basis. You respond to their babbling, you laugh at them being silly, you talk to them as if they understand, and all of this helps them to learn about interacting with others and socializing.
With these first experiences socializing with you, your child will continue to grow and develop new skills as they socialize with other children. Throughout the next years of their life, your child will be hitting different social development milestones. While every child is different and some children may reach these milestones earlier or later than others, these are just a general guideline that can help you keep your child on pace.
At Yellow Brick Road, we offer a variety of child care programs that can help your little one develop different skills from the time they are six weeks old to five years old.
Social Development Milestones
As your child grows, there are some milestones that they should be hitting around certain times. As we already mentioned, every child is different and may hit these milestones earlier or later, but having a general understanding of where your child should be can help you make sure they are developing at a good pace.
Babies are social and love interacting from a very young age. They want you to hold them and talk to them. While they may not seem to be socializing, these are the first steps in social development.
At one month, there are a few things that your child will begin to do to “socialize” with you. Your little one will watch you and your facial expressions, they may even try to mimic these expressions or other gestures that you make. Your child may also begin to develop language skills by trying to socialize with you. They may listen to the sounds you make and start trying to communicate in their own way. At one month, your child should start cooing. This is a great first step in social and language development.
At three months, your baby will be more observant of what goes on around them. They will begin to smile to show their emotions and begin to try to communicate. This is a time when your child will likely smile at you while gurgling.
Four to Six Months
Throughout these months, your baby will begin to show excitement around new people. They will likely squeal when greeting new people. Your little one will also likely show an enthusiastic reaction whenever they see you or their other parent. This shows that the bond that you have made with your child is strong.
Your child will also start babbling at this age. This is your child’s way of trying to interact and communicate with you. To encourage them and help them continue to develop, talk to them when they babble at you. Talk to your child as much as possible. Not only will this help jumpstart their language skills but it will also help with social development as well.
Seven to 11 Months
In the last few months of your baby’s first year, they will continue to develop social skills and perfect the skills they have already developed. But they will likely do this alone, rather than interacting with other babies. If you plan a playdate with a child the same age and put toys in front of them, they will likely play alone.
While your baby may show more interest in other kids, most interactions at this age are quick and brief. But them showing interest is a social development milestone!
As your little one gets closer to a year old, they may start to show signs of separation anxiety. For babies, this usually begins around the time they develop an understanding of object permanence. Separation anxiety is a common thing for young children to experience, so don’t worry if your child starts to get nervous around new people or cry when you are gone. This doesn’t mean that they aren’t developing socially.
During the next year of your child’s life, they will grow through many different social development phases. This is a big year in your child’s social development and you may notice some drastic changes.
Right around the time they turn one, your child will likely seem antisocial. They will cry when you leave the room and may even show signs of anxiety when someone else is holding them. These are signs of separation anxiety. While some babies develop separation anxiety at a younger age, it is most common from 10 to 18 months.
While this is likely the time when your little one develops separation anxiety, it is also the time when they will show interest in the world and begin to communicate and enjoy getting responses from others.
During This Year Your Child Will:
SHOW MORE INTEREST
Show more interest in and enjoy the company of other children. They will go from playing alone near other children to interacting more, even though they will be protective over their toys.
LEARN TO TALK
Your child will learn how to talk and communicate, which will help them make friends.
Children this age will also be very observant. You may notice your child watching their friends and imitating what they do.
This is also a time when your child will show independence and try to refuse help from a caregiver. They may not want to hold your hand while walking or get upset when they can’t do something on their own.
It is also common for children to show aggression during this period. They may bite, kick, or hit their friends. These behaviors will generally go away once your child learns how to communicate their feelings with words.
During this year of your child’s life, they will likely be more self-centered. They have not yet learned that people have their own feelings and don’t have the emotional maturity to put themselves in someone else’s shoes.
With more social interaction, your child will begin to perfect the art of sharing and taking turns. While there may still be times when your child isn’t generous, there will be small acts of sharing that will help them develop those skills and understand them more.
This is about the time your child will start showing more interest in some friends more than others. While they may not seem like best friends, there are likely a few friends that they talk about all the time and get excited to see.
Your child will also begin to learn how to interact with people and be polite starting around this time. You may have to remind them every once in a while to say “hi” when someone greets them, but they will begin to develop these skills with the more social interactions they have.
During this age, imaginary friends may make an appearance in your household. This is common for your children and allows them to develop new social skills, which can help them when it comes to making real friends. This is how many children learn how to create connections with people besides their parents.
Between the ages of two and three, your child will also begin to understand and notice other people’s emotions. They may point out when someone is sad but respond to these emotions incorrectly. This is because they are still developing the cognitive skills that allow them to see something from someone else’s perspective.
This is the age when your child will begin to seek out others and start playing with them. Set up playdates to help them get a ton of social interaction and allow them to practice and perfect their social skills. You may have to give gentle reminders to share and take turns.
They will also begin to use imaginative play during this time. This will help them make new friendships with kids who have the same interests as them. During this time, your child will also begin to learn how to solve conflicts with other kids on their own. Since they will want to continue playing, they will be able to figure out their issues and show positive behaviors.
Your child will also begin to better understand feelings, both their own and others. This is when your child will start to show empathy and put themselves in other people’s shoes.
At four years old, your child will enjoy playing with friends and show interest in being a part of groups. This is a great time to sign them up for different activities. They will also continue to work on understanding the concept of sharing and taking turns. Since they will be more aware of other people’s feelings and thoughts at this point, they will begin to work on their negotiation skills, work through conflicts verbally, and regulate the behaviors of others.
This is also the age where your child will begin to show affection physically, by giving you more hugs and kisses. They will especially start to do this if they notice that someone is upset or distressed. This is a time when your child will begin to show more positive social interactions and behaviors.
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From the age of four and on, your child will begin to further develop these social skills and pick up some new ones on the way. By the time your little one starts kindergarten, they should understand basic emotions, how to share, take turns, and be comfortable separating from you.
At Yellow Brick Road Early Childhood Development Center, we offer child care programs that are for children from six weeks old to five years old. During their time at our child care center, your little one will develop a lot of different social skills. They will have a ton of time socializing with kids their own age as well as adults, which can help them develop these skills on time and continue to grow throughout the next steps of life.
These milestones can help you determine whether your child is on the right social path and allow you to better understand what to expect when it comes to your child’s social development. If you have questions, please feel free to contact Yellow Brick Road today!
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