Emotional Development

How do emotions develop?

Emotional development depends on the nature of situations or stimuli your baby is subjected to.The interaction style of the parent with the child has a significant role in this regard. A child shown much loving care and attention by the parent shows adequate emotional development. If the parents are themselves a source of stimulus of fear, then the child's emotional development will be affected. As the child grows up, relationship with same age-group children, school atmosphere and other environmental factors influence the emotional development. Here's a timeline of when babies exhibit certain emotions

Emotional Development

Newborn - Two Months
  • 3 Months
  • 6 to 12 Months
  • 12 to 18 months
  • 18 to 24 Months

How does a child express his emotions?
  • Happiness
  • Anger
  • Sadness
  • Fear
  • Love and Sympathy
  • Empathy

Newborn - Two Months

The infant's emotional development starts with crying since the time of his birth. 

Newborns cry in order to communicate their need. At birth, infants are quiet when full and cry when hungry. The crying differs based on the different needs. 

Next the emotion of smiling appears. Smiling is of two kinds - the one which appears in the first month is involuntary and not in response to an external stimulus, the second one which appears by two months is in response to an external stimulus like a familiar face, mostly the mother's face. Early emotional expressions are similar among all infants. As they mature more complex emotions begin to develop. Once the parents know about the basic needs of their infants,they can understand their emotional expressions.

3 Months

By about 3 months they begin to talk with coos and goos and by imitating sounds of their care-takers. This shows the emotion of happiness. Anger and distress too are shown out at this stage.

6 to 12 Months

At about 6 to 12 months, more complex emotions like fear for strangers and fear of being left alone are expressed. At the same time they express joy on social interaction with parents and familiar people.

12 to 18 months

Negative emotions like anger and distress are expressed more between 12 to 18 months, but these subside with development of language. A feeling of empathy is shown by 18 months - a feeling related to the feeling others are experiencing.for e.g when a sibling cries or is sad, the baby shows out the same feeling.

18 to 24 Months

Around 18 to 24 months, toddlers are self conscious and develop emotions like shame, pride and embarrassment.