Ages 0–12 Months: When you bond with your baby, you foster and teach trust. Holding your baby, smiling at them, talking, reading and singing to them, and meeting their needs all help to build attachment and security. Early experiences build the foundation for social skills and healthy relationships with others.
Ages 1–3 Years: Toddlers often engage in “parallel play” with others, which means that they enjoy being around others even if they are not always interacting with them. At this age, children begin to express strong emotions — both positive and negative — and may become aggressive when frustrated. “No” may become a favorite word; help children find words for feelings to build a vocabulary for self-control. Starting at around 24 months, children become more aware of a variety of feelings (their own and others’), expressing both compassion and frustration.
Ages 3-5 Years: As vocabulary and emotional maturity grows, children are more able to express their feelings and start to control impulsive behavior. Developing rapidly are skills in listening, following directions and rules, and taking turns; positive behavior is reinforced by peers and others. To help nurture preschoolers’ social skills, talk to children when they misbehave, explaining the reasons for rules. Ask how they might have behaved differently.
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