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Nurturing social-emotional development from birth-3 years old

Early Intervention Social Worker Empowers Families

I appreciate that our program is multifaceted in the sense that we are able to provide support in so many varied ways because it allows me to empower families to make the best decisions for themselves and tailor the available support to their own desires and needs. – Rainbows’ Social Worker Alison Stramel


Nurturing social-emotional development from birth-3 years old

Social-emotional development consists of the ability to develop and form secure attachments, express and regulate emotions, and includes the ways in which people relate their social experiences to themselves and others. Social-emotional development begins from birth as newborns start to form secure attachments with caregivers in their first year of life. The best ways to foster these secure attachments are to respond promptly to the infant’s cues and needs and offer enriching social interactions full of language, eye contact, physical touch, and smiles.

During the first year an infant may develop the ability to identify and respond to the social cues of their caregivers, utilize gestures in a simple way such as reaching for a parent, seek out positive social interactions with at least one specific adult, and demonstrate some separation anxiety when not with their primary caregiver(s).

From ages 1-2 years, we expect to observe back-and-forth interactions between the toddler and others and witness them begin to explore their surroundings independently. Little ones in this age range may also begin to take turns and imitate adult behaviors during play time such as pretending to cook.

From ages 2-3 years, toddlers are likely expressing strong feelings of possessiveness for their caregivers and showing enjoyment toward being more social with others in their environment. They may begin to express frustration through tantrums as well as identify the thoughts and feelings of others.

Social-emotional development throughout infancy and toddlerhood is nurtured through positive and enriching social interactions with primary caregivers on a regular basis. This can be achieved through playing simple social games like peek-a-boo, reading, and talking to your baby, and through making time to laugh with and give your little one undivided attention regularly throughout the day.

By Alison Stramel, LMSW, Butler County Infant/Toddler Services