3 Ways Social-Emotional Development Helps Babies Grow

Making friends. Showing anger in a healthy way. Figuring out conflicts peacefully. Taking care of someone who has been hurt. Waiting patiently. Following rules. Enjoying the company of others. All of these qualities, and more, describe the arc of healthy social-emotional development. Like any skill, young children ideally develop these abilities in small steps over time.

Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health

Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (IECMH), or social and emotional development, is the foundation of all development. Healthy, nurturing relationships with parents and educators lay the foundation for a baby’s social and emotional development. Social and emotional development helps children to:

1. Form close and secure adult and peer relationships;

2. Experience, manage, and express a full range of emotions;

3. Explore the environment and develop a sense of identity and belonging

All in the context of family, community, and culture.

Healthy, nurturing relationships with parents and educators lay the foundation for a baby’s social emotional development.

Where can we promote IECMH?

Researchers estimate roughly 10-14% of children ages 0-5 experience an emotional or behavioral disturbance, and IECMH programs are associated with decreased rates of early childhood suspensions and expulsions. Everyone who touches the life of a child can promote social and emotional well-being. So, where can we promote IECMH?

• Pediatric health care

• Early childhood education

• Home visiting

• Judicial system

• Policies

• Child welfare

• Early intervention


Learn more about IECMH and how you can support social-emotional development of babies and toddlers at our Virtual Annual Conference happening October 25-29, 2021. The conference package includes 5 days of exceptional programming and 30 days of exclusive, on-demand access to recorded sessions. Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are also included. Group discounts for groups of 10 or more are available. Register now to save your seat!


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