NE of my favourite programmes, Channel 4’s The Secret Life of Four, Five and Six Year Olds, is back on our screens. The children are so sweet and I find it fascinating watching them interact with each other as they navigate various milestones in their social and emotional development.
A child’s brain develops at a phenomenal rate during the early years of life, with around 90% of the brain’s capacity developed by age three.
All children develop at their own pace but here are some of the key social and emotional milestones that most will reach by the age of four. DURING their first year, infants should be able to express a range of emotions such as happiness, anger and fear.
Towards the end of their first year they may start to show frustration when they do not get what they want.
In terms of social development, they can distinguish between familiar people and strangers, copy simple actions and will become anxious when they are separated from their parents or caregivers.
They should be able to recognise their own reflection and may be asserting themselves more, for example, through attempting to direct the actions of others.
They can now choose and initiate play activities and show that they are pleased when they achieve a goal. DURING their third year, toddlers are making strides in developing their creativity and confidence.
They will show excitement and enjoyment when playing with other children and use symbols during play, for example, a row of chairs becomes a choo choo train.
They are now capable of experiencing a wide range of emotions that may be intense and change quickly.
The limits of their ability to communicate means they sometimes struggle to express what they are feeling. CHILDREN are really developing their independence at this age.
Most will be able to follow instructions from others, perform familiar tasks with little or no assistance, make up their own games and get other children to join in.