Social Emotional Development

Self-Care Age Norms

Eats by self:

  • 2.3 drinks from cup without spilling
  • 2.6 feeds self entire meal when food is cut up
  • 3.0 pours liquids into glass with some spilling
  • 3.6 uses spoon without spilling much
  • 3.6 puts dry cereal and milk in bowl without spilling
  • 3.9 holds and uses fork effectively - stabs food and brings it to mouth
  • 4.6 uses knife to spread soft food
  • 5.0 uses knife for cutting

Prepares water for washing:

  • 2.9 turns water faucet on and off
  • 3.6 adjusts hot and cold water temperature

Avoids danger:

  • 3.0 walks slowly on wet, icy, or slippery surfaces
  • 3.6 demonstrates caution by avoiding hot stoves, knives, heights, electric outlets, deep water, broken glass, etc.

Manipulates clothes fasteners without help:

  • 3.6 unfastens large buttons and snaps
  • 3.9 buttons large front buttons
  • 5.0 puts zipper in catch and zips large front zipper

Undresses self:

  • 3.9 completely undresses self without help

Dresses self:

  • 3.9 without help: puts on socks, coat, jacket, sweater, pants; (excepts buttons and fasteners)

Blows and wipes nose:

  • 5.0 without help

Social Skills Age Norms

Follows simple rules:

  • 2.6 about 50% of the time.
  • 3.0 in circle or group games led by adult (e.g., Ring-Around-a-Rosy).
  • 4.0 plays simple board/card games with other kids with adult help (e.g., Candyland)
  • 5.6 waits for adult/teacher to give child attention
  • 6.0 consistently complies with the rules of fair play in games

Interacts with others:

  • 2.9 shows an interest in the conversation of others.
  • 3.3 shows a preference for some peers, has special friends
  • 4.6 prefers playing with other children, rather than adults
  • 4.6 begins to share and take turns


  • 3.0 other children in cooperative play groups

Laughs at:

  • 3.0 silly behaviors of others

Greets others:

  • 3.9 responds consistently and appropriately to "Hi! How are you?" from familiar adults

Aware of own good and bad behavior:

  • 5.0 apologizes when breaks or damages another's possessions
  • 6.0 admits wrong doing

Emotional Developmental Age Norms

Stays with one activity by self:

  • 2.6 less than 5 minutes
  • 3.4 5-10 minutes
  • 4.0 10-15 minutes
  • 5.3 15-20 minutes

Respects property:

  • 3.6 claims own possessions
  • 4.6 recognizes other's property
  • 5.0 asks permission to use other's possessions

Expresses emotions/frustrations with words, not actions, most of the time:

  • 3.6 states how he/she fells when asked (happy, sad, mad)
  • 3.9 says "Stop it," "Don't do that," or similar statements rather than hitting, pushing, crying, or yelling
  • 4.6 names facial expressions of other's basic emotions (happy, sad, mad)


  • 3.9 from parent in familiar surroundings, without crying

Develops healthy self-concept:

  • 3.9 makes positive comments about self: "I'm good." "I'm big."
  • 4.0 calls attention and takes pride in own achievements
  • 4.6 participates in competitive games


  • 4.3 calmly and accepts mild failures and disappointments
  • 4.9 seeks alternative activities when necessary

Shows concern for others:

  • 4.3 shows sympathy/comforts others who are in distress
  • 5.0 gives up immediate reward for promise of delayed reward