A child's emotions begin developing from birth. They learn to express both negative as well as positive feelings based on your reactions and cues to these emotions. Daily activities help promote emotional development, moreover, understanding how this happens will make it easier to figure out the importance of these activities for infants.

Emotional Development in Infants

The emotional development can be explained based on the infant's age growth. Here are some stages that show how infants normally develop emotionally:

1.    The First 3 Months

Within your baby's first 3 months, the infant will:

  • See objects clearly, within a distance of 13 inches
  • Feel comforted by someone familiar
  • Have positive responses to touch
  • Become quiet when you pick her up
  • Start listening to voices
  • Begin smiling and responding to social stimulation

2.    Month 3 to 6

At 3 to 6 months, your infant can:

  • Start making warm smiles and laughter
  • Recognize familiar faces
  • Seek comfort and cry when uncomfortable
  • Express excitement by waving her arms and legs
  • Be able to sense the difference between people based on how they look, feel, or sound like
  • Smile when looking at herself in a mirror
  • Enjoy seeing other babies
  • Recognize her name
  • Start laughing aloud

3.    Months 6-9

At 6 to 9 months, your little one will:

  • Be able to express different emotions
  • Play peek-a-boo and other games
  • Respond when you talk or make gestures to her
  • Start understanding your emotions (an angry voice, for example, can make her frown)
  • Show displeasure when she loses a toy
  • Be comfortable around familiar persons, but anxious about strangers
  • Start sucking her thumb or holdinga toy or a blanket to comfort herself

4.    Months 10-12

At 10-12 months, your infant will:

  • Begin having separation anxiety
  • Start to develop self-esteem
  • Respond to positive affirmation by clapping
  • Become more aware of heights
  • Show various moods such as happy, sad, and angry
  • Try to gain your approval and avoid your disapproval
  • Display temper tantrums
  • Sometimes be cooperative, sometimes uncooperative
  • Start developing a sense of humor
  • Cling to one parent or both

Want to know more about infant emotional development and what parents can do, just watch the video below:

How to Foster Emotional Development in Infants

How to foster you infants' emotional development is a common concern for many parents. Parents may feel confused about when to start. However, there are some tips that can help you foster emotiondevelopment in infants:

  • Develop strong bonds with your new baby by responding quickly to her needs. Interact with her by using eye contact, speaking, and singing softly.
  • Consistently observe your growing infant's behaviors and emotions. You cannot foster your infant's emotional development with no understanding of his behavior meaning.
  • Familiarize yourself with the typical stages of emotional development in children. Find educational resources that can help you understand age-appropriate developmental changes.
  • Tantrums or outbursts of intense emotion are normalamong toddlers,but these can be stressful for you. When he calms down, talk to her by using language, which helps him identify his feelings. “It seems like you were angry because Mommy said you can't have candy.” Such words and sentences can help with teaching him to label and understand emotions.
  • Avoid scolding your child for expressing strong emotions. Instead, teach her better ways to express these feelings without harming herself or others. This will enable her to deal with negative feelings as an adult.
  • Read stories to your child, and choose stories talking about emotions or feelings for your child. Ask her questions like “Do you think the girl is happy or sad?” or “Why is the girl crying?”
  • Be a model on behaviors. Children often watch and learn from their parents' examples. Managing your emotions positively will help her do the same.

Other Developments in Infants

Besides emotional development in infants, they also develop other skills during the first three months of life. The chart below lists other development in infants which parents can take as a reference.


How It Develops

Physical Development

Your baby may be overwhelmed by various external stimuli like sounds, shapes and colors. Babies may cry a lot, but avoid shaking them to calm the infants down.

Vision and Hearing

Newborns begin to hear even before they are born.

They have underdeveloped eye muscles, so even if they can see at close range, they cannot form visual images with meaningful shapes.

By 6 weeks, their eyes can move in unison.Within two months, they are attracted to bright lights, primary colors, stripes, dots and different patterns.The first thing they recognize is the human face.In the first 3 months, they start to recognize particular faces and objects.

Body Using Skills

In the first 8 weeks, babies have no control over their movements. Their physical activities are mostlyinvoluntary or reflex including grasping, sucking, startling and pulling to stand.

By 8 weeks, they start to lift their heads and kick their legs while lying on their tummies.

On the 3rd month, they begin watching their hands and feet while they wave in the air. They also try to wave their fists toward you or some desired object.

Speech and Language

Crying is the only means of communication in newborns, so it is important for you to respond to her as soon as possible, which will help her to understand that you are there for them.

By 7-8 weeks, they begin to coo and make vowel sounds.They listen to what you say and make noises back while 'talking' to you.