Social development is continuous and systematic process. It has special characteristics during different stages.
1. Early social responses
At the time of birth the baby is not social. Gradually he starts responding to the people around who take care of him is the beginning of sociability.
2. Social responses towards children
Six to seven months-old baby gives attention to another baby who is crying. He observes the doll very keenly. They want to be in the company of other children of same age.
3. Response towards group
Two years-old starts giving response to the group of children though the group is very small i.e. of 2 or 3 children. After the age of 2XA year the child starts understanding some meaning of feelings like obedience, sympathy, cooperation.
Whenever there is obstruction in the fulfillment of desire, the child shows negative behaviour like throwing things, lying on the ground, howling, etc.
In the beginning the child feels sympathy for fellow children and afterwards the same response starts giving to elders also.
It indicates the progress of the child. It can be seen in plays of the child, in getting attention and love of parents and teachers.
This feeling is very necessary for adjustment. It is first seen in the plays of children.
Social development of the child during 0-3 years
The infant does natural activities. He cries when he is hungry or in pain but when he is well-fed and comfortable, he smiles. As the baby becomes conscious of this environment, he starts acquiring social traits and start understanding relationships.
Three month-old baby starts responding to the mother’s smile with a smile when person smiles the baby immediately responds by smiling. This is the first social gesture, the baby learns to give.
When anybody talks to the baby, he stares at the person and this establishes a bond between them. The mother while feeding, bathing and making the baby sleep, always looks at the baby with love and the baby also observes these expressions. This creates a bond of emotional and social relationship between the two. The baby starts recognizing the voice, face and touch of his mother.
It has been observed that when elder people while talking to children show their facial gestures liberally to the baby, they also make pleasant and acceptable sounds. The 4 to 6 months-old baby gives response to such activities by kicking his arms and legs in the air and makes joyous sounds. When a baby witnesses an angry face or unknown face he starts crying. Thus the baby starts learning social behaviour.
In this stage the baby tries to attract the attention of other people by doing certain activities. Seeing a familiar person, the baby extends his arms to go to that person. He claps and cries with joy. The baby starts taking interest in toys and other babies. He also makes babbling sounds.
The baby now wants to play with other children. He tries to snatch away the toys of others. Baby starts to understand some indications and follows simple instructions like “no”, “come here” and “go there”, etc.
The baby insists on going outside to play with other children. He doesn’t like to be alone. He tries to communicate with others in his own way using his limited vocabulary and gestures. The baby accepts to some extent the toilet training and tries to communicate his need with the mother.
In this age the baby becomes quite social. The baby fidgets and shows his reaction by crying, if anybody takes his possession. He also likes to play and share his toys with other children. Baby starts showing sympathy and curiosity towards other children and is scared of unknown people.
2- 3 years
The child is now very social. He tries to imitate the social behaviour of elders especially his family members. He learns to say “Manatee”, “Bye-Bye” etc. and to some extent he becomes independent also. Child starts taking food himself, helps mother in getting himself ready. Child likes to remain in the company of other people.
In this stage the child becomes jealous and quarrelsome, and develops a feeling of competition. In this age feeling of cooperation and friendship also develops during thus stage. Child starts going to the play school and learns to live in the company of peers. Children are not aware of caste, creed and sex discrimination in their playgroup.
The feeling of freedom at this stage is quite strong. Children have a negative tendency also and they become obstinate to certain extent. Four years-old starts obeying his parents to get their praise approval and recognition.
Three years-old child becomes less self- centered and develops a group feeling. Leader of a children’s group can easily be recognised by observing them while playing. Leadership qualities also start developing at this stage.