Monday, July 2, 2018

Social Emotional Development: Ages 3 – 4 years

This area of development involves learning to interact with other people, and to understand and control your own emotions. Developing the ability to control your emotions and behavior is also a long process. Children continue to develop their social-emotional skills well into their teenage years, or even young adulthood.

The following are some of the typical developmental milestones for children 3-4 years of age.
  • Share toys and taking turns
  • Initiate or join in play with other children
  • Follow simple rules in games, but will always want to win
  • Begin dramatic play, acting out being animals or taking a trip
  • Might be bossy and defiant
  • Show more independence
  • Experience a broad range of emotions (i.e. fear, happiness, jealousy, anger)
  • Become more even-tempered and cooperative with parents
  • May show attachment to one friend

Red Flags
  • Not able to initiate or join in play with other children
  • Not able to share with other children
  • Dependent on caregivers for everything
  • Extremely “rigid” about routines, and becomes extremely upset when things are changed
  • Has extreme difficulty separating from you
  • Is too passive or fearful, and does not want to try things other same age children are doing
  • Has extreme fears that interfere with daily activities

If you notice any of these by the time your child is 4 years old, you may want to talk to your doctor, or another health professional such as a mental health clinician, a speech-language pathologist, an occupational therapist, or a psychologist.