Socio-emotional development is the development of a child's experience, expression, management of emotions, and ability to create relationships. According to the California Department of Education, the development of a child's socio-emotional capacity is important because it encompasses both intrapersonal and interpersonal processes.
Children express and experience emotions before they are fully understood. Development of socio-emotional capacity allows children to create and maintain strong relationships. In addition, further development helps in regulating and expressing emotions. Emotions such as empathy are highly affected by a high socio-emotional capacity. Furthermore, when children have refined this capacity, they are able to handle complex social interactions, such as negotiating, with individuals and groups. Skills like these are crucial to a child's transition from an adolescent to an adult.
A child's socio-emotional development is usually tracked by particular milestones, such as familiarity with adults, name recognition, clear display of emotions and self-awareness. According to Public Broadcasting Service, these milestones generally occur within the first five years of a child's life. Proper development allows a child to be prepared for the challenges of school and communication with his peers. Moreover, as a child is developing into adolescence, a strong socio-emotional capacity promotes a healthy self-esteem, a healthy identity and self-control.