Smiling, eye contact, play and other social interactions are significant achievements for infants and toddlers. Find out if your child is crossing these age-appropriate emotional milestones on time.
By Amrita Gracias
Emotional development is all about learning about feelings and emotions and how to express and manage them. It also involves understanding and responding to the emotions and feelings of others.
Emotional development begins during infancy and continues through childhood. There are numerous factors that influence the development of emotions in children. How parents and primary caregivers interact with children plays a vital role. Other important influencing factors include the child’s abilities and disabilities, cultural influences, the opportunities for social interactions, and his temperament.
How a child is developing emotionally is measured with the help of emotional development milestones. Here are some of the age-appropriate milestones for you to understand what your child should achieve within the first five years after his birth.
Concerns: Cannot focus eyes on a person or object; does not respond to touch
Concerns: Does not smile; does not express pleasure at the sight of familiar people
Concerns: Does not smile or respond to voice of parents or caregiver; does not enjoy close contact; does not gesture
Concerns: Does not make eye contact; does not respond to name; shows limited or no response to interactions
Concerns: Cannot focus on an activity for too long; requires constant attention; does not imitate actions
Concerns: Shows no interest in interacting with other children; displays abnormal aggression with frequent tantrums
Concerns: Refuses to play with other children; extremely passive and fearful; displays severe anxiety at separation from parents or caregivers
Concerns: Still shows no interest in playing with other children; shows no signs of interest in activities that children this age might enjoy; extremely dependent on parents or caregivers for everything
Do keep in mind that these developments take place within a certain age range and that slight delays are normal. These accomplishments also depend a lot on the support and understanding within the home environment.
Children learn to recognise and express their feelings if they are allowed to explore their own emotions. This also helps them become more aware of other’s feelings and develop a sense of empathy. However, do monitor and teach children to control negative emotions like anger, aggression and frustration. Most importantly, children model their expressions of emotions based on those of their parents. So, remember that you need to manage your own emotions appropriately to be a good role model.
If you find that your child is lagging behind in achieving the age-appropriate milestones, don’t hesitate to contact your paediatrician immediately. Timely diagnosis could help in identifying areas of concern that might require intervention.
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