Healthy Children Milestone Category

Social and Emotional

Milestone Name Expected Age
Begins to develop a social smile 3
Enjoys playing with other people and may cry when playing stops 3
Becomes more communicative and expressive with face and body 3
Imitates some movements and facial expressions 3
Enjoys social play 7
Interested in mirror images 7
Responds to other people’s expressions of emotion and appears joyful often 7
Shy or anxious with strangers 12
Cries when mother or father leaves 12
Enjoys imitating people in play 12
Shows specific preferences for certain people and toys 12
Tests parental responses to his actions during feedings (What do you do when he refuses a food?) 12
Tests parental responses to his behavior (What do you do if he cries after you leave the room?) 12
May be fearful in some situations 12
Prefers mother and/or regular caregiver over all others 12
Repeats sounds or gestures for attention 12
Finger-feeds himself 12
Extends arm or leg to help when being dressed 12
Increasingly inventive in fantasy play 48
Interested in new experiences 48
Cooperates with other children 48
Plays “Mom” or “Dad” 48
Dresses and undresses 48
Negotiates solutions to conflicts 48
More independent 48
Imagines that many unfamiliar images may be “monsters” 48
Views self as a whole person involving body, mind, and feelings 48
Often cannot distinguish between fantasy and reality 48
Wants to please friends 60
Wants to be like her friends 60
More likely to agree to rules 60
Likes to sing, dance, and act 60
Shows more independence and may even visit a next-door neighbor by herself 60
Aware of sexuality 60
Able to distinguish fantasy from reality 60
Sometimes demanding, sometimes eagerly cooperative 60