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Social and emotional development

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Babies begin to develop both socially and emotionally by responding to voices and faces, especially their Mothers and carers and beginning to smile. They have little independence and rely on adults for comfort and reassurance, feeling secure when cuddled.

By 9 months babies are still shy with strangers but will show their affection to carers. They will enjoy being with others and playing simple games like peek-a-boo.

Between one and two years they may show separation anxiety from adults close to them. They may choose a particular object such as a teddy or blanket to comfort them. Play becomes more fun with other children, and they will mostly be cooperative and they like to please adults. They can be easily distracted to avoid unwanted behaviour. From two to three years children will become more independent, wanting to do things for frustrated when they are unable to do something without help.

Jealousy of others receiving attention may start to be apparent. Although they will begin to enjoy playing alongside other children of their age, or others who give them attention, they do not necessarily play with each other and may be reluctant to share either playthings or adults attention with others.

The child may display attachment and separation anxiety at this age.

Independence continues to grow, and by the age or four children will start to become self motivated in certain things. They begin to cope better with new surroundings and people. Their social skills will be growing as play becomes more cooperative with other children. They are able to share and consider the needs and feelings of others. They like to help and please, and become more cooperative with adults.

Between the age of four and seven children learn a great deal about how things work, people and the world. They enjoy being given or taking responsibility, and helping others. They start to understand rules and like
to have structure and routine. Play is fun with groups but taking turns can be difficult, so as friendships are made, they are often broken fairly quickly as they still need help to resolve minor arguments and disagreements.

As children progress towards teenage years they become more independent and less reliant on adults for support. They will become more aware of their gender and form strong friendships, often playing with friends of the same ***, although adult intervention is often still needed to help resolve arguments and disagreements. They begin to understand acceptable and unacceptable behaviour and have a strong sense of what is right and wrong. Peer groups are very influential as children want to fit in with others and their rules.

Teenagers may need a great deal of reassurance as they approach adulthood. Their bodies are going through many physical changes and they may become very self conscious. They will also be experiencing huge emotional changes which they may find difficult to control, shifting between childish and adult behaviour and needs. Their independence may cause them to distance themselves from parents and become closer to peers. Parental beliefs and values will be questioned and often dismissed as the teenager builds their own value system. Strong friendships may be developed with others of the same, whilst an interest in the opposite  begins to develop.

Babies intellect begins very simply by imitating and trying out new ways of behaviour and play. Although their confidence will begin to grow, they will still need reassurance from carers/adults. They start to realise that we are all separate beings. At three to four years children will be able to sort by size, colour, shape etc. They will understand a number of simple instructions given at once, for example “go to the table, get an apple and bring it to me”. Between five and seven they will be aware of similarities and differences in aspects of life, and understand that differences can exist side by side. They will begin to understand that the same things can be seen differently, for example the same number of bricks will not look the same when built differently. At seven children will begin to read to themselves.

Children will develop certain interests by nine.
Adolescents will become more responsible for their own thoughts, words and actions. They will begin to think to their future adulthood in relation to occupations, relationships etc. The support and guidance given to children during this time will have a great bearing on the pace of their development. As a teenager forms their individual identity, education should guide them on moral, social, economic and culture codes.

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