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Huddersfield Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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