Is your child on track? To find out what's typical in terms of social and emotional development by the end of 3, 4, and 5 years old, read on!

By the end of 3 years (36 months): Social

  • Imitates adults and playmates
  • Spontaneously shows affection for familiar playmates
  • Can take turns in games
  • Understands concept of "mine" and "his/hers"

Emotional

  • Expresses affection openly
  • Expresses a wide range of emotions
  • By 3, separates easily from parents
  • Objects to major changes in routine

By the end of 4 years (48 months):

Social

  • Interested in new experiences
  • Cooperates with other children
  • Plays "Mom" or "Dad"
  • Increasingly inventive in fantasy play
  • Dresses and undresses
  • Negotiates solutions to conflicts
  • More independent

Emotional

  • Imagines that many unfamiliar images may be "monsters"
  • Views self as a whole person involving body, mind, and feelings
  • Often cannot tell the difference between fantasy and reality

By the end of 5 years (60 months):

Social

  • Wants to please friends
  • Wants to be like her friends
  • More likely to agree to rules
  • Likes to sing, dance, and act
  • Shows more independence and may even visit a next-door neighbor by herself

Emotional

  • Aware of gender
  • Able to distinguish fantasy from reality
  • Sometimes demanding, sometimes eagerly cooperative