Skip to content

DEVELOPMENTAL SCREENING: Signs of Emotional Development in Your Child

Posted in:DadsDevelopmental ScreeningMomsYour Growing Child


It’s important to keep track of your child’s development as they grow. Staying aware of their developmental stages makes it easier to tell if there is a health problem. Tracking emotional development is important too. Here are a few healthy signs of emotional development to look for as your child gets older.

At about 2 months, your baby should start smiling at people. They may also try to look at their parent. By the time they are 6 months old, your little one will begin smiling spontaneously. You’ll notice that they are more playful with others. They will also react to other people’s emotions. At 1 year old, the average child has experienced many emotions. They can express when they are shy, nervous, happy or sad. You will notice certain moments when your child might be scared. Around this time is also when your child starts to show attachment to mom or dad.

When your little one is 2, they should be able to copy other children and adults. They usually become more playful and excited to be around other children as well. By the time your child is 5 years old, they can tell what’s real or fake. They are more likely to follow the rules and may be a bit more independent. Ages 5 to 8 is when you should see some big emotional development. Your child may experience feeling empathy. Most parents will notice that their kid is developing self-esteem too. This can be positive or negative. Children will start learning from their mistakes at this age and share feelings with family members.

A great way to keep track of your child’s development is with a checklist. If you have noticed something odd with your child’s emotional development, check out Kids Health! They’re a great source with many answers about emotional and behavioral health. If your concern is serious, be sure to make a developmental screening appointment with your child’s doctor, and keep a regular visiting schedule.

© 2024. Delaware Division of Public Health.