Skip to main content

Warning notification:Warning

Unfortunately, you are using an outdated browser. Please, upgrade your browser to improve your experience with HSE. The list of supported browsers:

  1. Chrome
  2. Edge
  3. FireFox
  4. Opera
  5. Safari

Your child’s social, emotional and behavioural development

Social, emotional and behavioural development begins at birth and continues into adulthood.

It means being able to:

  • express your feelings
  • trust others
  • show kindness
  • have positive interactions with your peers
  • have a sense of right and wrong

Babies and toddlers learn social and emotional skills from their parents and family.

These skills include:

  • knowing how to comfort someone who is hurt
  • learning how to make friends
  • being able to express worry, anger and happiness
  • learning how to manage disputes
  • taking their turn when playing
  • following rules and enjoying playtime

Your relationship with your child

The time you spend with your child and how you talk to them will influence their future sense of self. It will also help their social and emotional development.

By having a secure relationship with you, your child will:

  • feel more confident exploring their environment
  • learn about and understand their feelings
  • begin to form new relationships
  • be encouraged to become more independent

Understand your child's personality

We inherit some personality traits from our parents. Others are shaped by our world, families and cultures.

It's important to understand your child’s personality. It is unlikely to change.

Spend time with your child

The more time you spend with your child, the more you will understand their personality. This will help you see their strengths as well as areas where they may need support.

Understanding your child can help you when dealing with their behavioural problems.

Avoid negative comments

Avoid making negative comments about your child's behaviours and personality.

Children are often very sensitive to these comments. They want and need your approval.

The way you think and talk about your child will influence how they view themselves.

Having a positive sense of self will improve your child's resilience when they face challenges.

Supporting your child’s development at different ages:

Page last reviewed: 1 December 2021
Next review due: 1 December 2024

Slaintecare logo
This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 8.