The progression every person undergoes to understand themselves and others. While social emotional development, like other development, happens in a predictable sequence, adults and peers play a significant role in teaching children appropriate ways to socialize and handle their emotions. The foundation of this development is coregulation, when a distressed child is met by a caring adult who helps them to reregulate and teaches them the skills needed to self-regulate.

Social-emotional learning can be one of the most misunderstood by adults– we see a child who is “aggressive” or “mean” or “a hitter,” and correcting the behavior is second nature, but finding ways for the child to meet their underlying need in a way that doesn’t harm others is much more difficult.