Content Map Terms

Toddler's Social and Emotional Development From 30-36 Months


toddlers looking at books together



At this age, your toddler likely enjoys cuddling and openly showing you affection - and playing with others is getting easier.

Here's what else you can expect between 30 and 36 months

Social and Emotional Milestones

Most toddlers at this age will:

  • Use social language, such as "please," "thank you" and "bye-bye."
  • Play with others.
  • Play make believe games and creates imaginary characters.
  • Get upset with major changes in routines.
  • Know and respond to other people's feelings.
  • Become more comfortable with new people.
  • Want to do things independently, but may fear new experiences.
  • Want approval and praise.

Play and Activity

Your toddler is continuing to take great strides socially and emotionally. Nurture that growth by introducing your toddler to familiar neighbours and others in your community. Shower your toddler with affectionate hugs and loving words. Praise good behaviour with clear language.  Instead of saying "good girl," or "good boy," say, "Sharing your teddy with Kim was very kind." 

Here are some more tips for supporting your child's social and emotional development:

  • Provide opportunities to play with other children.
  • Encourage your toddler to wash, dress and feed dolls or other toys to teach caring for others.
  • Encourage imaginary play. Join in with questions: "Is the tea ready?"
  • Stay nearby to help your toddler solve problems while playing with other children. Make sure a trusted adult is always close by when children are playing.
  • Continue to breastfeed.
  • Praise your toddler's new skills and when she does something without help.
  • Accept your toddler's feelings and talk about them.
  • Give and use words for feelings: "disappointed," "hurt," "thrilled," "excited.”
  • Talk very simply about your own feelings as examples.
  • Listen to and understand your toddler's fears.
  • Sing songs and read stories about emotions. Talk about the feelings of a story's characters and ask your toddler why the characters might feel that way.

Other Social and Emotional Milestones

Between 30 and 36 months your toddler may also:

  • Copy adult behaviours, such as shopping, banking, parenting, breastfeeding, or cooking.
  • Create an imaginary friend to talk to.
  • Be more comfortable around new adults.
  • Help other children do things.
  • Develop skills such as taking turns, sharing, and using words instead of fighting.
  • Explain his feelings when asked about them.
  • Understand the feelings of other children and talk about them.
  • Stamp her feet when frustrated.
  • Ask you to tell certain stories to help deal with fears.

Resources & Links:
HealthLink BC: Your Child’s Feelings

Last Updated: April 10, 2013