Social-emotional development – 4 to 12 months old

From 4 to 12 months, bub starts making sense of emotions and can link them to what is going on.

Bub will start putting their emotions to use, like showing frustration when unable to reach something.

At around six months, bub feels genuine affection for the main caregiver and true attachment kicks in. Bub also learns to be afraid of strangers.

Be friendly, playful and sensitive with bub because it keeps bub’s stress hormones low during strange or fearful events.

Get to know bub’s signals and respond properly to their needs for sleep, comfort and affection because bub:

  • feels accepted and respected, even when being told off
  • knows the caregiver is not ignoring them
  • begins to learn the value of affection and empathy.

Work with bub rather than taking over what they do because:

  • this encourages bub to be independent
  • bub learns to control their emotions
  • the main caregiver becomes a safe base from which bub can try things out and return to for comfort
  • the relationship will give bub a little bit of frustration and conflict, needed to round out bub’s emotional learning.
Published — 22 March 2019 Last updated — 22 March 2019

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