Typical Social Behaviors of 2-year-old, 3-year-old, and 4-year-old children

Typical social behaviours of 2-year-old:

  • Engage in imaginary play
  • Observe others and imitate their behaviors
  • Use aggression to achieve goals
  • Show signs of independence
  • Increases interest in adults’ language

Typical social behavior of 3-year-old:

  • Observe adults and mates and imitate them frequently
  • Use imaginary play, especially with dolls, people, and animals
  • Hugs more with familiar playmates
  • Able to take turns
  • Knows the concepts of mine and hers/his
  • Demonstrates signs of empathy; hugs a friend who feels sad
  • Enjoys small group activities
  • Shows more self-control
  • Able to express feelings such as fear, anger, and affection

Typical social behaviours of 4-year-old:

  • Enjoys playing imaginary games with friends
  • Intrigued by new situations, knows how to interact with friends cooperatively
  • Begins to use words to resolve conflicts
  • Becomes more independent
  • Becomes more detailed and creative in fantasy play
  • Gains more control of intense feelings like anger but still needs adult guidance
  • Awareness of what is expected
  • More confident with self-help skills like eating and dressing

Seven Social Learning Goals & How Each Might be Accomplished

  1. Help children develop empathy
  • Encourage role-playing, dramatic, and imaginative play helps children to understand what people do.
  • Help them to understand how people feel. We can learn this concept to them by providing more opportunity to experiencing interactions with other people and peers, as Piaget mentioned so that they are freed of egocentrism.
  • Discuss feelings; explaining how someone in the group feels without any negative implications. E.g. “Mike has been waiting a long time, and you know how it feels to wait” Showing pictures of people expressing strong emotions is another way to build sensitivity.
  • Be a day-by-day model for the kids. For example, if they are not fair in the game to one of the children, you act the opposite, be fair, so they can understand the difference and the right manner.
  1. Help children learn to be generous, altruistic, and able to share equipment, experiences, and people with other children
  • Modeling and expressing affection with verbal comments and explanations of what is happening is one way of social learning.
  • Help them to learn to share the equipment from their heart not because you make them. For example, do not tell them “play 3 minutes with that then your friend will play 3 minutes with it too”. Instead, say “When you are done with that car would you remember to tell your friend? She would like a turn when you are through” and after he did it, pointing out “look how happy she is that you remembered, she is smiling at you, I guess you are her good friend.” Let the children have the thing till they have enough of it.
  • Help them to learn to share the teacher.
  1. Help children learn that being kind to other people feels good
  • Teach them how to help other people.
  • Help them learn how to help children with disabilities and participate in their plays.
  1. Teach children that everyone has rights and these rights are respected by all.

It should be explained that the rules are applied for everyone.

  1. Emphasize the value of cooperation and compromise rather than stress competition and winning.
  • By modeling the cooperation and helping behavior you can teach them how to be cooperative.
  • Teach and encourage them to compromise and help each other rather than hurrying.
  1. Help children to discover the pleasure of friendship
  • Reinforce the behaviors that cause the shy isolated child to interact with the group
  • Teach them to improve their social skills.
  • Help them out when a friend rejects them or departs.
  • Pairing children together. For example, assigning a project in partnership with a friendless child and her/his classmate who is socially more accepted.
  1. Help children with special needs fit into the life of the group
  • Working, eating, playing, gathering, etc. all children together let them know all children no matter a typical child or a child with a disability are more the same than different and help them to be more comfortable rather than uneasy around such youngsters. 

Autism Spectrum Behaviours in a Child

  1. They pay scant attention to other children or adults, and they seem emotionally uninvolved.
  2. They are so sensitive to change; If they have been asked to change the activity, they would be distressed.
  3. It is so difficult or impossible to make eye contact with them when you are speaking to them. (They often do not look at in your eyes)
  4. They have non or minimal speech-related skills.
  5. They may repeat phrases in a meaningless way.
  6. They may show a marked interest in things that spin or twirl.

What is Best to Do When My Child’s Pet dies?

The best thing to do is telling the truth in an age-appropriate manner because that helps the child learn to cope with loss. Be accurate, brief, and avoid euphemisms such as “passed away” or “went to sleep” to describe death to the child. For a young child, words like these may end up creating confusion or even extreme fear about going to bed at night. Find particular ways to remember the pet. You can have a ceremony to bury the pet and share the fun memories you had together with the pet. Let your child say something special about the pet, something they will miss, and something funny or silly that they remember about the pet. Let the kid know about your feelings, too, that you also loved and miss the pet. If you see your child need to be cuddled and hugged, do it.  If the child doesn’t want to talk about the pet, encourage her/him to write or draw about it. So, tell your child about the death right away. Then allow your child to ask questions. Recognize that if they ask for details or they’re asking for comfort.

What does constitute a crisis for young children?

“Change creates a crisis for young children. Change is unavoidable in life and it is difficult for us as adults to get used to it. It can be sudden or chronic, unhappy events, or even a joyful one. In all these statements it is even more difficult for young children to cope with, and it is going to be harder if an unhappy change happens suddenly.

What Could be a Crisis for Young Children?

  • a new baby in the family
  • hospitalization of a parent
  • divorce
  • a parent arriving late to pick up the child
  • Changing the school
  • Moving to another city or country

Is My Child Emotionally Healthy?

If Your child has the following hallmarks, she/he is emotionally healthy.

  • The ability to build a healthy relationship with one of the teachers or others, outside of their family.
  • The ability to follow the routines at school without fuss.
  • The ability to working on emotional tasks that are age-appropriate.
  • The ability to become deeply involved in the play.
  • Developing the ability to settle down and concentrate.
  • Not being usually withdrawn or aggressive compared to other children the same age.
  • Having access to a full range of feelings and the ability to deal with them in an age-appropriate way.

Several Ways to Promote a Child’s Sense of Self-esteem

  1. Unconditional positive regard.

This is the most effective way to promote a child’s sense of self-esteem. It means regardless of if the child is doing the teacher’s expectations, the teacher regards them as the individual they are, and their being in the group.

  1. Honest recognition and praise.

The critical point about this way is that praising children should always be coupled with the recognition of something children have achieved. It means that praise should be based on performance. For example, when the child shares a toy with someone, use “Thank you for sharing that with Joey; you made him happy” instead of “Good boy; thank you.” Encouraging while recognizing what a child is accomplishing and saying it to the child is another effective way rather than praising to promote children’s self-esteem. E.g., “I bet you can do it if you try.”

  1. Respect.

Some ways to show respect to promote self-esteem are abiding child’s decision when they have been given a choice. Asking their opinion and listen carefully to their replies, avoid humiliating the child in front of other people, and explaining the reasons behind the rules. It all makes them feel important to be entitled to an explanation and intelligent enough to understand it.

  1. Helping the child achieve competence.

This way of promoting self-esteem causes children to have intrinsic satisfaction instead of external praise. They feel worthy and good about themselves because they can do something on their own, not because of being praised, rewarded, or because someone said so.

  1. Allow them to make them own choices and by being as independent as possible.

This way says that children should sometimes feel that they are in control of their environment, or they should keep the locus of control within them whenever it is reasonable and possible.

  1. Provide opportunities that are challenging but not so difficult so they can test themselves against difficulties.

Derring-do is an inborn quality that children like to try and have mastery in more challenging things. Parents/teachers should help them with that and do not stop them unless it is so dangerous. Parents/teachers should encourage children to keep trying and repeat practices to increase competence. They can not have mastery of something by doing it one time.

  1. Offer opportunities to do meaningful work.

Children feel proud and feel good when they help their group, other people, or adults—some tasks like washing painting brushes and organizing the books in the bookshelf.

  1. Offer creative activities.

Creative self-expression is a valuable way to build self-esteem. By doing creative activities like painting, collage, make something with clay, children feel they are powerful and can create anything they want.

The Stages of Emotional Development

1. Trust vs. Mistrust:

Parents and caregivers establish a trustful climate by being consistent and regular. By being reasonable, they make it clear for children that they can depend on them. Also, being sensitive to the child’s needs confirms that they are worthy of love, and it makes their self-esteem stronger.

2. Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt:

The children who have not the opportunity of establishing autonomy and independence maybe become oppressed, have feelings of shame and self-doubt, lose self-esteem, being defiant, and trying to get away with the problem instead of solving them. In the future, they also develop various forms of compulsive behavior. To prevent these problems in school and home, children should have an environment full of opportunity to make decisions and to be independent, whenever it is possible and reasonable. At the same time, parents/teachers should be able to establish decisive control if necessary, because of the children’s poor judgment skills.

3. Initiative vs. Guilt:

Around ages 4 and 5, children become more interested in exploring the world, figure it out, and being a part of a group to find out everything. They are curious about what effects their actions have on other people. That’s one of the reasons that they sometimes use foul language. Children must be allowed to do, act, and explore to feel satisfied in this stage. Their ability to initiate plans and take action must be encouraged because that increases the feeling of self-worth, creativity, and self-starter, which all are necessary for future happiness, development, and initiative.

Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development.
Table Credit: simplypsychology.org