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Social and Emotional Development - Feelings and Behavior

Adapted from Mayer R, Anastasi JM, Clark EM. 2006. What to Expect & When to Seek Help: A Bright Futures Tool to Promote Social and Emotional Development in Infancy. 

From birth through adolescence, every parent asks one question more than any other: “How is my child doing?” All children have different strengths and abilities, and no other child will develop exactly like yours. Health, personality, and early experiences are important to your child’s development; additionally, family, community, and cultural traditions also play important roles. For example, children have fewer limits and become more independent at earlier ages in some cultures than they do in others.

Although each child is different, all children face social and emotional challenges in childhood, including:
• Developing self-esteem and growing more confident
• Making new friends and meeting new challenges at school
• Learning to take reasonable risks, to handle failure, and to “bounce back”

As parents, you are becoming experts at knowing and meeting your growing child’s needs. This tool can help by providing:
• A “snapshot” of what to expect as you and your child learn and grow together
• A way to identify your child’s strengths and your abilities as parents
• A starting point for talking with others about your child’s development
• Tips for when, where, and how to seek help

If you have questions or concerns about your child, “check it out.” Ask a trusted friend, family member, or member of your faith or cultural community; talk with your child’s health care or after-school care provider; or contact your child’s school or your local social service agency. Help is available in your community.

See the booklets in the “apply” button to find out how you can expect from your child at various stages. Finding answers to your questions early will help your child develop in the healthiest way possible.


Parents talk with children about how to treat others and how to behave at school in the video above.



Watch this video to learn more about children's social and emotional development.


An introduction to social and emotional learning