Abbotsford Early Years

Resources and events for children 0 to 6 years and their families

Social Competence

Please note: All children develop at their own rate. This information should be used as a guide. If you have concerns please talk to your doctor or a public health nurse.

Social development is understanding how to communicate and get along with others. Being in an active environment teaches us to share, take turns, accept the differences in others and include others in play/conversation. Just by watching others interact, children learn valuable social skills. Social and emotional development often come hand in hand since how a child fairs socially often impacts his or her emotional well-being.

Social Competence Includes:

  • Cooperating and respecting others
  • Ability to work within the school environment
  • Socially appropriate behaviour during school activities
  • Self-control and self-confidence

General Sample Questions:
Does your child share with others? Is your child self-confident?
Will he/she invite bystanders to join in a game?
*Please note: these questions would depend on the age of the child.

Ages & Stages

Find out more about typical development for ages 0 to 5 along with activities you can do with your child and red flags to be aware of.

  • Begins to smile at people
  • Tries to look at parent

Activities For Your Baby:

  • Speak to your baby frequently; call out their name to help them locate sounds
  • Gently rub and massage your baby’s arms, back, legs and tummy
  • Place an interesting mobile above the crib

Red Flags:

  • Show no reaction to sound.
  • Child arches their back frequently.
  • Body posture is floppy or limp.
  • Doesn’t watch things as they move
  • Doesn’t bring hands to mouth
  • Smiles spontaneously, especially at people
  • Copies some movements and facial expressions, like smiling or frowning
  • Likes to play with people and might cry when playing stops

Activities For Your Baby:

  • Enjoy cuddle time with your baby
  • Babies learn when you talk about things your baby sees, hears, and feels
  • Encourage your baby to look at you or a toy and get him to follow its movement slowly

Red Flags:

  • Hands are tightly fisted
  • Child moves one arm towards a toy but the other arm remains still
  • Legs are stiffly crossed
  • Infant is not responding to friendly cuddles and care
  • Doesn’t coo or make sounds
  • Eyes follow at same time
  • Knows familiar faces and begins to know if someone is a stranger

Activities For Your Baby:

  • Read picture books, talk about the pictures, tell stories
  • Hold a rattle a short distance from bay’s hand and let her reach for it
  • Show actions for “bye-bye” and “blow kisses”

Red Flags:

  • Child squints or an eye is turning in or out.
  • Does not engage in babbling or vocal play
  • Consistently has difficulty with soothing
  • Child seems very stiff, with tight muscles or very floppy
  • Has difficulty getting things to mouth
  • May be afraid of strangers
  • May be clingy with familiar adults

Activities For Your Baby:

  • Let him feed himself during family meals
  • Provide a variety of safe toys to explore and play with
  • Roll ball back and forth between you encourages turn taking

Red Flags:

  • Stands on tiptoes rather than on flat feet.
  • Has difficulty moving from a sitting position to hand and knees.
  • Child has difficulty crawling, for instance, using only one side of their body.
  • Doesn’t respond to own name
  • Doesn’t look to where you point
  • Hands you a book when he wants to hear a story
  • Puts out arms or legs to help with dressing
  • Play simple games like “pat a cake” and “peek-a-boo” and wave “bye- bye”

Activities For Your Baby:

  • Read interactive story books where child can point, imitate and name animals or objects
  • Encourage walking with ride-on toys
  • Have child point to parts of her body when asked

Red Flags:

  • Recurrent ear infections between 6 months and 1 year.
  • Child is not yet crawling or pulling to stand at furniture
  • Doesn’t say single words like “mama” or “dada”
  • Can’t stand when supported
  • Has trouble grasping small toys with fingers
  • Likes to hand things to others as play
  • Explores alone but with parents close by

Activities For Your Baby:

  • Begins to introduce items that encourage imaginative play such a brooms, telephones, pots and pans
  • Do simple shape puzzles and read with your child
  • Expand on what your child says. “car” – “yes, the car is going”

Red Flags:

  • Arms held in a stiff bent position.
  • Does not respond to own name or recognize words for familiar objects
  • Does not show interest in other children or relate to others
  • Child is not yet standing or walking independently
  • Is not yet talking or has lost previously acquired language skills
  • Shows more and more independence
  • Shows ownership of possessions and has difficulty sharing
  • Copies others, especially adults and older children

Activities For Your Baby:

  • Teach your child sharing and turn taking within your relationship first
  • Offer simple choices (Do you want milk or water?)
  • Use songs to assist in transitions such a “clean up, clean up”

Red Flags:

  • Up on toes when running,
  • Poor balance or frequent tripping
  • Does not use eye contact or gestures when communicating
  • Unable to follow simple instructions
  • Displays repetitive mannerisms (flapping hands)
  • Show affection with words and actions
  • Recognizes and responds to other children’s feeling
  • Takes turns in games

Activities For Your Baby:

  • Take your child to a playgroup or preschool where he can learn to interact and play with children his own age
  • Talk with your child about feelings and emotions. Help him learn to identify and name them
  • Provide simple puzzles and sorting games

Red Flags:

  • It is difficult to get child’s attention
  • Avoids contact with other children, plays alone
  • Trip or fall often when walking or running
  • Shows a lack of empathy when others are sad or hurt
  • Drools or has very unclear speech
  • Would rather play with other children than by herself
  • Talks about what she likes and what he is interested in
  • May show concern and sympathy for younger children when they are upset
  • Cooperates with other children

Activities For Your Baby:

  • Encourage your child not to give up on tasks or games
  • When outdoors, talk about things you see and do
  • Teach your child her name, phone number and address

Red Flags:

  • Child’s speech is difficult to understand.
  • Stuttering
  • Does not show any feeling when they hurt others
  • Can’t jump in place
  • Resists dressing, sleeping and using the toilet
  • Wants to be like friends
  • Can tell what’s real and what’s make-believe

Activities For Your Baby:

  • Draw with your child and talk about her drawing, hang her art in a special place
  • Make an ‘all about me’ book with your child (include things they like, friends, favorite food, games etc.)
  • Tell a story of your child’s life from birth to present

Red Flags:

  • Doesn’t show a wide range of emotions
  • Doesn’t talk about daily activities or experiences
  • Is easily distracted, has trouble focusing on one activity for more than 5 minutes
  • Can’t give first or last name
  • Hurts animals or others on purpose