Social and Emotional Communication with Your Child Aged Birth to Two: Greenspan’s Essential Developmental Stages

By January 4, 2017Parkland Players

This is the first post in a series of posts on social and emotional communication with children aged two years and under.

Children two and under can experience many emotions throughout the course of their day. However, these emotions are often difficult for them to express due to their current level of language development. For this reason it is very important for caregivers to be aware of how to interpret, communicate and handle this sometimes ambiguous social and emotional communication.

One tool that parents may use in this regard is having a working knowledge of where your child is at in their social/emotional development. The following is one way of understanding the stages of their social/emotional development. This is “Greenspan’s Essential Developmental Stages”:

  1. Stage One (birth to 3 months): developmental goal is being calm and interested in all the sensations of the world
    1. Baby is learning how to be calm, and how to accept soothing from a caregiver
    2. Baby is learning how to feel secure and interested in their environment
    3. Baby is trying to organize information from sensory inputs
  2. Stage Two (2 to 10 months)): developmental goal is falling in love
    1. This means that baby is becoming more focused on parents and other things outside of themselves and expressing emotional reactions to these stimuli
  3. Stage Three (3 to 10 months): developmental goal is becoming a two-way communicator
    1. Baby is purposefully using gestures to communicate
    2. Baby is responding to others’ gestures and realizing that he can use his gestures to get his needs met by a caregiver
  4. Stage Four (9 to 18 months): developmental goal is learning to solve problems and discovering a sense of self
    1. Baby is learning how to solve problems and communicating in increasing complex ways
    2. Language begins to be incorporated into communication at this stage
  5. Stage Five (16 to 36 months) developmental goal is creating ideas
    1. Toddler is able to utilize symbolic/representative thought
    2. Their verbal communication has improved and their awareness of others has increased.

Our next post will focus on the various habits and skills that are beneficial for social and emotional communication with your child.



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