National Center for Effective Mental Halth Consultation

Children Ages Twenty-Four to Thirty-Six 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:
  • Sees others as a barrier to immediate gratification
  • Participates primarily in parallel play
  • Identifies self with children of the same gender
  • Cooper (32 months), Jade (34 months), and Jocelyn (30 months) are playing at the water table outside. Jocelyn plays by herself, pouring water out of a pitcher onto a water wheel. She giggles as the water splashes in her face. Cooper is standing by Jade washing his doll in the water. Jade says, “My doll! My girl doll.” Cooper frowns and says, “My dolly.” Cooper keeps playing with the doll.
  • Bella (28 months) loves to play outside. When her teacher announces that it is time to go outside, Bella runs fast toward the door, knocking into two of her peers.
  • Adrienne (30 months) has been in the same classroom for four months and she is only interested in going to the writing table during choice time. This would not concern her teachers so much, but she will not allow any other children to be near her during this time. She loves for teachers to come and work with her, but if another child comes near her she uses a loud voice to say, “No! Get Out!”
Emotional Development-Self-Regulation:
  • Enjoys directing others
  • Frequently displays aggressive feelings and behaviors
  • Shows increasing awareness of being judged by others
  • Shows pleasure in mastering new skills
  • Asserts independence (e.g., “Me do!”)
  • Attempts to regulate behaviors
  • When Madeline’s (30 months) caregiver announces, “It is time to clean-up!” Madeline rushes around picking up toys and other materials in the dramatic play center. A teacher comes over to help and Madeline says, “Me do!” Her teacher says to her, “You are working hard at cleaning up Madeline, so we can have lunch.” Madeline says, “I'm done." Her teacher responds by saying, “Would you like to help me set the table for your friends?" Madeline says, "I help you" Madeline has a smile on her face and takes her teachers hand.
  • During a play group time, the home visitor tells the children (and parents) that they will be playing with shaving cream at the discovery table. When Erin (35 months) approaches the table she looks at the shaving cream, then at her mother. Her mother says, “It’s okay to touch, see.” Her mother touches the shaving cream and puts a little on Erin’s hand. Erin quickly wipes it off on her shirt and stands by her mother as two other children enter the area. Jonas (32 months) and Desmond (34 months) stick their hands in and laugh while looking at each other. Erin looks at her mother and then slowly puts one hand into the shaving cream. She smiles and puts the other hand in.
  • Triton (34 months) has a great deal of difficulty interacting with others in the classroom environment. Last week, he began crawling on the table where other children where painting. He picked up a container of paint and poured it on the table. The other children asked the teacher for help. When the teacher tries to help or redirect Triton he becomes upset and uses inappropriate words or gestures.




Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Back to Top Print
Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development National Center for Effective Mental Health Consultation