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By: Elizabeth Huffstutter, Psy.D.

Parents may first notice their child is delayed in communication or language skills. However, it may be more difficult to detect social-emotional milestones, which begin as early as 2 months of age.

Take a look at this list of milestones created by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

2 months- Begins to smile at others and tries to look at parent.

4 months- Smiles spontaneously and likes to play with people and may cry when playing stops.

6 months- Knows familiar faces and begins to distinguish strangers and responds to other peoples emotions.

9 months- Afraid of strangers and has favorite toys.

1 year- Cries when mom or dad leave and enjoys simple interactive games such as peek-a-boo and patty cake.

18 months- Temper tantrums begin and simple pretend play emerges (i.e. feeding a doll).

2 years- Excited to be around other children, and parallel play with the beginning of including other children in their play (i.e. chase).

3 years- Takes turns in games and separates easily from parent

4 years- More creative with make-believe play and talks about likes and interests with others

5 years- Likes to sing, dance and act and can distinguish between real and make-believe

If you have concerns about your child’s overall development including social-emotional skills, discuss them with your child’s physician. Consider seeking a referral for a comprehensive developmental assessment.

For a full list of social-emotional milestones as well as other developmental milestones go to

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