What is the emotional development in a child of three years?

What is the emotional development in a child of three years?

Emotional Development refers to a person’s ability to manage his emotions, interact with others effectively and to be empathetic towards others. Emotional development is a major part of development and growth. Every person in society, from birth to death experiences emotions which play an important role in their lives. These emotions develop gradually and as children grow, they become more sensitive towards the feelings of others. This is termed as empathy.

The family has a great impact on the emotional development of a child. Children watch their parents, teachers, and peers and learn from their interactions. Emotional stability is important for a person to maintain healthy relationships and to function independently. When children are young, they can’t express themselves with words hence they are more likely to throw tantrums. Their language and thinking have not developed fully.

In their early years, parents must be sensitive to their child’s emotions. Children experience both positive and negative emotions. They are often confused by them and need help in navigating all these thoughts and feelings. If a child cries, the worst thing a parent can do is try to silence him or her by threatening or scolding. This will further frustrate the child and make him more anxious. Parents must react carefully to angry or sad children. Being patient and tolerant can be cumbersome but can help in the long run.

Children develop some basic understanding of emotions by the age of three. They may be able to differentiate between different feelings such as happiness or sadness. For example, when parents chide their children for displaying certain emotions like anger, they begin to realize that they can’t always act the way they want. However, this doesn’t mean that they will control their emotions.


Children are more likely to show negative emotions around their peer group due to the absence of a parental figure who will try to restrict them. Children have outburst quite often in front of parents as well.

This is the age when children have a very active imagination. Often, we hear of children having “an imaginary friend”. Ask them who the chair next to them is reserved for and they may name a person who does not exist. This is pretty common for children of this age. They engage in make-believe actively and may even role play as fictional characters they see or read about. They may create new stories every other day to keep themselves entertained. Sometimes you may hear your kid talking to their imaginary friend. It’s a good way for them to express their thoughts and feelings without being under scrutiny.

Sometimes children may suddenly feel afraid of imaginary concepts such as ghosts. Children of this age may even get upset or overwhelmed easily. Parents should try to be patient and talk them through such periods. Anxiety is pretty normal for children of this age as the world is a lot to take in. Every day they encounter new situations and it takes time for them to feel independent and confident. Parents should keep a watchful eye on their child, so they feel safe and secure even as they begin to explore the world.

Emotional-Development in child

Children may even show empathy and begin to understand the emotions of other people through their interactions. She may be empathetic towards people who are close to her. For example: When your three-year-old sees you crying, she may try to show affection through physical contact. At the age of three, Children begin understanding and interpreting their own emotions and the emotions of others as well. Though they are talking, their language isn’t clear yet. Hence, emotions overpower their thoughts.

Parents play a massive role in the emotional development of their child. They can act as good models for children. They can encourage empathetic behaviours and discourage aggression in an appropriate manner. Children become sensitive to how others react to their display of emotions.


Emotional development is a very long process; however, the journey starts at home. Always be aware of your child’s feelings. Create an atmosphere where your child feels safe to express his emotions in your company, especially when he is upset. Mirror their positive emotions such as happiness or joy. For example: If your child is thrilled at finding their lost toy, don’t try to turn them away saying “It’s just a toy.” For them, it’s a big win.


• Emotional development refers to a person’s ability to manage his emotions, be empathetic and understand others.
• Children engage in make-believe games from the age of three
• They don’t have full control over their emotions and may be prone to outbursts
• Observe your child carefully and always be sensitive to his emotions.
• Encourage positive emotions and respond suitably to negative emotions like sadness, anger, and fear.

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