Your child starts to develop socially and emotionally from birth and should reach social and emotional developmental milestones at certain ages. These milestones are the age at which most children develop abilities such as smiling, playing and interacting with others. Although some children are a little faster or slower than others, delayed social and emotional milestones could be an early warning of future problems. Talk to your health care provider if you have concerns.


Social and emotional development involves learning to interact with other people and to understand and control your own emotions. It is closely related to the way you feel about yourself – your self-confidence, your self-esteem and your self-belief. Babies start to develop relationships with the people around them right from birth, but the process of learning to communicate, share, and interact positively with others takes many years to develop. 


Developing the ability to control your emotions and behaviour is also a long process and parents and other caring adults in a child’s life have an important role to play. Children continue to develop their social-emotional skills well into their teenage years and young adulthood.

 It’s important for parents to know the social and emotional developmental milestones and take their child to the clinic if concerned, as this is the best way to prevent future problems and help the child reach his or her full potential. 


Every child is an individual and develops at his own pace in the different areas or domains of development and these areas or domains of development are closely linked and affect one another. The developmental milestones are a guide to what most children are able to do by certain ages.