Developmental Trends: Social Cognition and Interpersonal Skills at Different Age Levels
What You Might Observe:
- Emerging awareness that other people have desires, goals, and intentions different from one’s own
- Increasing engagement with other infants (e.g., watching and touching them, vocalizing, smiling at them, imitating them)
- Appearance of simple prosocial behaviors (e.g., offering a teddy bear to a crying child) in the second year
- Anger at caregivers who frustrate efforts toward desired goals
- Conflicts with peers about toys and other desired objects
- Infants who have frequent contact with age-mates (e.g., in group child care) tend to be more sociable.
- Infants may be more inclined to show prosocial behaviors when caregivers model these behaviors.
- Some children have “difficult” temperaments; they may be especially contrary in the second year, biting others or exhibiting frequent temper tantrums.
- Use words such as like, want, and think regularly in descriptions of yourself and children.
- Allow infants to interact with one another under your guidance and protection.
- Verbalize expressions of empathy and sympathy within earshot of other children.
- Praise prosocial behaviors.
- Set up the environment to reduce frustration and aggression; for instance, provide duplicates of favorite toys, and create separate areas for quiet play and active movement.
- Explain to aggressive toddlers that some actions are unacceptable, and impose appropriate consequences (e.g., by placing a child in a short time-out).
Early Childhood (2–6)
What You Might Observe:
- Increasing use of “feeling” and “thinking” words (e.g., want, sad, know)
- Growing realization that the mind does not always represent events accurately (e.g., that a person may have a false belief)
- Growing ability to take others’ perspectives, with some signs of empathy for people in distress
- Increasing sharing and coordination of play activities (e.g., sociodramatic play)
- Attempts to comfort people in distress, especially those whom children know well; comforting strategies not always effective
- Some aggressive struggles with peers about possessions; increasing ability to inhibit aggressive impulses
© ______ 2007, Merrill, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
- Coats and Car Seats: A Lethal Combination?
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- Child Development Theories
- Signs Your Child Might Have Asperger's Syndrome
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- First Grade Sight Words List
- Social Cognitive Theory
- The Homework Debate
- GED Math Practice Test 1