Why are social relationships important for young children’s development? - Early Intervention Technical Assistance Portal

Early Intervention Technical Assistance Portal

Why are social relationships important for young children’s development?

Think back to your earliest memory or even a photograph. Did it involve someone close to you?

Maybe an experience or exploration of something new shared with someone you loved and trusted? As infants, we experience our world through our relationships with others. As we grow and become more independent and in control of our own learning, we continue to grow from the foundation and context of our primary relationships. Relationships are a critical contributing factor in the development of a young child’s social-emotional skills and overall development. “The term social-emotional development refers to the developing capacity of the child from birth through five years of age to form close and secure adult and peer relationships; experience, regulate, and express emotions in socially and culturally appropriate ways; and to explore the environment and learn – all in the context of family, community, and culture.” (CSEFEL)

The development of social and emotional skills are essential and provide a foundation for a lifetime of learning and positive relationships. These skills are developed through positive, secure and reciprocal relationships with others including, primary caregivers, with other adults such as teachers and therapists, and with other children. Interactions within these relationships are the basis for all further development and learning. Stable social and emotional well-being helps children to explore and navigate new environments and experiences; facilitates the development of relationships with adults and peers; and supports their ability to participate in novel learning activities.

How can you help to ensure those earliest experiences become positive memories for the children and families you serve?

Take a few minutes to view the video “Social Relationship Quotes That Inspire!” and then share your favorite quote that supports the development of social relationships for children below.


For more information on the importance of social relationships, check out the Social Emotional Topic of Interest page on the portal.



CSEFEL Definition of Social Emotional Development (n.d.) Retrieved from http://csefel.vanderbilt.edu/resources/inftodd/mod1/1.7.pdf

Social & Emotional Development (June 19, 2015) Retrieved from https://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/hs/sr/approach/elof/se_dev.html


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