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Infant to 12 month: Social Emotional Development


There are many developmental milestones children will go through in their life. Some of the milestones parents are familiar with are gross motor milestones that happen in that first year of life. Babies progress through rolling, crawling, pulling to stand, and walking. Other areas of developmental milestones include fine motor skills, social skills, play skills, sensory development, language skills, self-help skills, cognitive development and emotional development. Each of these categories have specific skills kids learn in a typical order to ensure proper development. If a delay occurs in one area, it can impact other areas of development. For example, if a child demonstrates a language delay, they may not have the ability to communicate with their peers which can have an impact on their social and cognitive skills. If a child has sensory differences they may have a difficult time participating in various gross motor and fine motor activities.


Emotional development is an area occupational therapists are trained and educated in to assess and help nurture in kids. With any area of development it is important to be aware of the skill progression to make sure your child is meeting each milestone. Most skills build upon each other so it is more important to understand the progression versus paying attention to the age associated with each skill.


Emotional development begins at birth and continues throughout childhood and beyond. There are many ways to encourage and foster healthy emotional development at each stage of life. Below are activities to promote social emotional skills in the first year of life.


Social Development Activities

  • Tummy time with your child - participating in tummy time with your child is a great way to motivate them but also for social interaction. Being on their level, talking to them, singing songs, and playing peek-a-boo are great ways to encourage positive social interactions and reciprocal communication

  • Blowing raspberries - press lips on their tummy and blow air to make a noise. The sound and feeling will make them giggle and encourages them to make their own noises and lip movements

  • Copy cat - copy their actions when they are playing. If baby bangs blocks together, you do it too. This helps build joint attention and social connection.

  • Mirror play - use a mirror to make silly faces and sounds with baby. Use exaggerated facial expressions and be silly. See if baby will imitate what you do.

  • Parent and baby groups - joining a class for parents and babies is a great way to introduce baby to different people and build social skills.


If you are wanting more information on social emotional development, book a free consultation with me to discuss your child’s specific needs. .


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