Social and Emotional Development

What’s social and emotional development?

Social and emotional development refers to how young children learn to make friends, get along with others, and understand their own feelings (and how other people feel, too).

Healthy social and emotional skills are just as important as other developmental skills young child learn, like walking or talking. The skills they learn now will help them build good relationships, manage new situations, and handle stress or disappointment.

Watch our videos about healthy social and emotional development

Improve challenging behavior

Feeling frustrated when your child doesn’t follow directions or has a tantrum? There are many positive ways to prevent these issues and teach new skills. Help your children learn new ways to express themselves and calm down.

Helping with transitions

Transitions aren’t always easy, especially for little ones. Children live in the moment and don’t think of time the same way adults do. Learn ways to make transitions less stressful for everyone.

Teach about emotions

Get tips on teaching your children to label their own feelings — and understand how others are feeling, too.

Learn more about child development

Explore ways to set your child up for a lifetime of learning. Read our child development pages.

Last updated May 25, 2023