We may not remember it, but we all began learning our social skills and behaviours between the ages of 24 to 36 months. This is the stage for early social and emotional development to begin formulating our personalities and interactive skills we will use for the rest of our lives.

At this young age, children begin to explore more of their surroundings in a playful manner, and interacting with their peers allows them the opportunity to not only express themselves but to also learn appropriate manners of expression. They build confidence through a safe, loving environment in which they can feel comfortable with the emotions they don’t yet understand, and they learn to grow and expand their knowledge through guidance and encouragement of caring adults around them. Whether at home, with friends, or in a daycare setting social development is critical.

As they develop under the wings of healthy close personal relationships, a child can develop trust, empathy, a sense of right and wrong, as well as compassion.

How a Toddler Plays and What it Means to Them

When a young child begins to play with others, they gain a sense of imagination. Children of this age constantly work together to create a pretend play environment for everyone involved to enjoy. This pretend activity is a crucial part of a child’s development and it enhances language skills, cooperation, thinking, and social skills as a basis for compromise and cohesiveness. It also provides a child with the opportunity to learn from other children and develop their own ideas.

Learning to Deal with Feelings

As toddlers, they have developed beyond the infancy stage and are more self-aware. They have grown to experience more complex emotions beyond happy and sad, so they can feel embarrassment, frustration, guilt, and other feelings that they do not yet comprehend.

This is when a caring environment that includes other children and helpful adults can help to sort these new emotions. Children can be taught to verbalize their feelings through example, which allows their vocabularies to grow while they begin to adjust to these new experiences. In doing so, children can identify with their feelings and express them through language rather than acting out.

Learning Limits

As a toddler learns more about their feelings and socially interacting with others, they become better equipped with language and understanding so that they can now identify how far they can go before they exceed the limitations of a relationship or a situation to cause disruption. As adults, we can more easily explain what should be or must be done to make everyone happy.

In a loving environment such as the one found at County Place Early Learning & Care Centre, children are encouraged to explore all that social interaction can bring. Under the guidance of great teachers and caregivers, along with peer interactions, children can reach their full potential during this stage of development. This puts them on an excellent footing to move on to the next stage of their lives with a better opportunity for success, socially, emotionally, and independently.