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Social & Emotional Health

Social emotional health is a child’s growing ability to:

  • Form strong relationships with others
  • Express and manage emotions
  • Explore the world around them and problem-solve

Why is social emotional health so important?

Social and emotional skills are as important as ABC's and 1, 2, 3's. Babies need relationships with loving adults to learn these skills. Loving relationships also help babies' brains to grow and develop.


When children have this healthy foundation, they are more likely to:

  • make friends
  • follow directions
  • control emotions
  • solve problems 
  • focus on tasks

Children who do not have these social and emotional skills are less prepared to learn in school.

They are more likely to:

  • have trouble making friends
  • have behavior problems like biting, hitting, using unkind words or bullying
  • have difficulty learning
  • drop out of school

Early social emotional problems have been linked to later mental and physical problems like depression, and obesity.




From the Social and Emotional Health of Children Birth to Age 8 Fact Sheet