Why is social emotional development important for 2-year-olds?

As parents, we all want our children to grow up happy, healthy and well-adjusted. We want to see them thrive physically, intellectually as well as emotionally. However, sometimes in our quest to ensure that our children are meeting their developmental milestones, we tend to focus primarily on their cognitive and physical development, often overlooking the importance of their social and emotional growth.

Social emotional development or the ability to manage feelings, regulate emotions, build relationships and interact positively with others is now being considered just as crucial as cognitive and physical development in early childhood. Studies show that early childhood is a crucial time when children start developing social and emotional skills that are essential for success in school, relationships, and later in life. In this article, we will discuss why social emotional development is important for 2-year-olds and how we can encourage and support their growth in these areas.

Developing Emotional Awareness and Regulation

At the age of 2, children have a very limited vocabulary, yet they are constantly experiencing a range of emotions. They may feel happy, sad, excited, and angry, and they do not always know how to regulate these emotions. This is where parents come in. As caregivers, we can help our toddlers identify their feelings and teach them healthy ways of expressing them.

Parents can teach their children how to identify their emotions by labeling them. We can say something like “I see you are feeling frustrated that you can’t reach that toy”. We can also help them regulate their emotions by modeling behavior. When our children see us regulate our own emotions or take deep breaths, they can learn healthy coping mechanisms.

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Building Relationships and Communication Skills

At two years old, children are at a stage where they begin to socialize with other children. This is a crucial time as they develop communication and language skills, learn how to share and take turns, and build relationships with their peers. Playdates or attending playgroups are excellent opportunities for children to develop these critical social skills.

Parents can also encourage their children’s social skills by setting up play scenarios where they ask their child to take turns or share with another child. Reading books about emotions, social graces, and manners help children learn these skills.

Self-Concept and Self-Confidence

As our children grow, they start developing their own self-concept or an awareness of their own strengths and abilities. Encouragement is key when our children build their self-concept. Praise your child for his or her efforts and accomplishments, not just the result. This encourages them to develop a growth mindset – that with effort and hard work, they can accomplish their goals.

Additionally, at this young age, children are very much influenced by their parents. Therefore, it’s crucial to keep communication open and positive. When parents show an interest in their child’s ideas and thoughts, the child develops a sense of self-importance, which leads to effective communication and self-esteem.


social and emotional development is critical for the overall well-being of our children. Teaching and reinforcing positive social-emotional behaviors at an early age sets a foundation that helps in their entire lifetime. As parents, we can recognize and respond to our children’s emotions, model how to handle emotions, help them practice social skills and development, and encourage optimism and self-confidence.

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It is important to remember that no individual child develops at the same pace. Therefore, let each child develop at their pace, whether it’s social, emotional, or intellectual. Further, reach out to a professional or expert when needed to ensure adequate support and resources to give your child the best start in life.

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Why is social emotional development important for 2-year-olds?

Some facts you might be interested in

  • • Social emotional development is important for 2yearolds because it helps them to develop the skills they need to interact with others, express their emotions, and form relationships.

  • • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children who have strong social emotional skills are more likely to do better in school, have better relationships with peers and adults, and have fewer behavioral problems.

  • • A study conducted by the University of Michigan found that children who had higher levels of social emotional development at age 2 were more likely to have higher academic achievement at age

  • • A study conducted by the University of North Carolina found that children who had higher levels of social emotional development at age 2 were more likely to have fewer behavior problems at age

  • • Another study conducted by the University of Minnesota found that children who had higher levels of social emotional development at age 2 were more likely to have better mental health outcomes at age