National Center for Effective Mental Halth Consultation

Children Ages Eighteen to Twenty-Four Months

Social and Emotional Milestones Examples of Typical Social and Emotional Development Examples of Risk Factors for Potential Social and Emotional Concerns
Social Development-Attachment:
  • Brings items of interest to caregivers to show and play with, read, etc.
  • Expresses difficulties sharing preferred items with others
  • Often says, “No!” to adults and other children
  • Enjoys receiving attention from others for accomplishments
  • Mya (19 months) runs to the book shelf, picks up Goodnight Moon, and says, “moon” as she turns and runs toward her teacher. Mya puts the book in her teacher’s lap and says, “Read. Moon.” Her teacher picks her up and says, “So you want to read Goodnight Moon?” Mya nods yes. After reading the first page, her teacher says, “Can you turn to the next page, Mya?” Mya turns the page and smiles broadly and claps when her teacher says, “Yay! You did it, Mya!”
  • Josie (24 months), Neil (23 months), and Chen (21 months) are playing in the dramatic play area. Chen sits off to the side holding a doll. Josie is busy putting all of the plastic food in the sink. She says to Neil, “In here!” as she picks up more fruit and places it in the sink. In reply he shouts, “No! Me nana!” He grabs the banana out of the sink and runs across the room. Josie begins to cry and stomps on the floor while shouting, “No, in here! In here!”
  • José (20 months) is extremely attached and dependent on one primary caregiver. This caregiver is the only person in the center who speaks Spanish, José’s native language. When she leaves the classroom, even to use the restroom, José cries uncontrollably. Recently the center hired a Spanish-speaking floater who could come in the classroom and be with José while his primary caregiver is out of the room. Unfortunately, José does not respond to the new person and cries until his primary caregiver returns or his mother comes to pick him up.
Emotional Development-Self-Regulation:
  • Often experiences intense feelings when separating or reuniting with parents
  • Has mood swings in which expression of feelings can seem erratic
  • Expresses anger focused on others or objects
  • Shows pride in accomplishments
  • Wants to do things “my way”
  • At the end of the day, David’s (eighteen months) father comes to pick him up from child care. As soon as he sees his father he squeals, “Daddy!” and runs toward him. His father picks him up and says, “Hey buddy! I’m so happy to see you.” David buries his face in his father’s shoulder and hugs him tightly. As they are walking toward the door, Katie (22 months) stops them and says, “Katie draw” as she holds up a picture she drew. David’s dad puts him down and looks at Katie saying, “Wow! You used a lot of blue in your picture.” David then pushes his way between Katie and his father saying, “No!”
  • Gentry’s (23 months) mother practically runs into the room, sits him down and tells the teacher, “Sorry, I’m running late!” As soon as she leaves, Gentry gets up and runs to the door, sobbing “Mama. No mama go! No mama go!” His teacher walks to him and says, “I know you are so sad that your mama had to leave. Do you want to go and have some breakfast?” Gentry shakes his head no and sadly says, “Mama go.” His teacher stands back as he goes to look at the picture of his mother in his cubby. After a few moments he stops crying. His caregiver then goes to him and says, “Oh, you know that we are having your favorite breakfast today, waffles!” Gentry turns his head, looks at her, and says, “Wapples!” She says, “Yes, let’s go get some waffles.” He runs to the table smiling and saying, “Wapples, please.”
  • Rachel (19 months) frequently “gets lost” in the classroom. In the mornings when her mother drops her off, she usually cries for at least 30minutes. The caregivers used to try to console her, but now they just give her a stuffed toy and let her cry. After she stops crying, she never participates in activities. No matter what is happening, Rachel always seems to have a blank stare on her face. When her teachers ask her questions, she does not respond. The only word she uses consistently is mama.




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Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development National Center for Effective Mental Health Consultation