Social development in early years of childhood  is a crucial part of a person’s overall health, well-being and happiness throughout his or her life which is very closely associated with cognitive and emotional development. In this process, the child learns to interact with others around them and process their actions. Social development plays an important role when the child enters the school.

Developing social skills can help your child to  develop language skills, build self confidence, support  learning skills, resolve conflicts and establish positive attitude. 

When a child begin to socialise with other children, it will help them to practice and acquire speech and language skills which would help the child better able to understand, behave and act to the people around him according to the situations.

Milestones of Social Development in Early Childhood

At every age, there are some basic milestones to be developed.


Several skills rapidly develop during the first 2 years of life. Social skills which develop in children are as follows:
–They smile and react positively to  parents and other familiar people
– They develop stranger anxiety—though it can be frustrating, this is a normal process of development
– They develop an attachment to a comfort object such as a blanket or animal
– They begin to show anxiety around other children
– They try to imitate adults and children—just as a child develops in other ways, many social skills are learned simply through copying what a parent or sibling does
– They get  affected by emotions of parents and others around them


At this time , a child’s sense of  being confident begins to develop as he or she learns to do more activities without assistance.

At this stage, most children usually begin to:

  • Share toys and take turns
  • Begin engaging in pretend play
  • Follow simple rules in games
  • Sometimes become bossy and defiant
  • Show more independence
  • Might show attachment to one friend


At this time, children start to gain a greater awareness of their own individuality. A child’s sense of being independent in these early stages can set a pattern for the rest of his or her life.

At this stage, most children usually begin to:

  • Develop friendships with other kids
  • Compare themselves to other children and adults
  • Understand other people’s thoughts and feelings
  • Initiate or  play with other children and make up games
  • Show an understanding of right and wrong
  • Listen while others are conversing

Parents play a major role to enhance the social skills. As parents can help their kids by modelling  how to interact with people around him.

Some parental tips to help the kids to develop and support social development:

– Respond to your kid’s needs promptly—your child is learning how to trust someone
– Make eye contact with your baby—sit face to face to their level and maintain eye contact when you interact with them
– Babble and talk to your kid, always give a pause  to allow them to respond
– Play copycat with words and actions
– Play “peeka boo”—this teaches your child that even if you “disappear” you will come back, and which would help to reduce stranger anxiety

– Involve your kid in daily activities such as going out to by something or visiting friends—this shows them how you interact with others in a respectful, positive way
– Begin to arrange play time on a regular basis so that your child can interact with peers

Signs of possible dysfunction in social development in early childhood

  • Does not show any interest in playing with other children
  • Not ready to share or take turns with other children
  • Wants to be dependent on caregivers for everything
  • Is extremely particular about routines and becomes upset when things change
  • Has extreme difficulty to get separated from parents or caregivers

If your child exhibits some or all of these behaviors, you may want to have your child’s skills assessed or seek advice from speech language pathologists or a psychologist to understand the possible cause and initiate the intervention accordingly.


1.What Is Social Development in Early Childhood? ‐ Reflection …‐what‐is‐early‐childhood‐social‐development

2. Social Development in Children | SCAN of Northern Virginia‐resource‐post/social‐development‐in‐children/