The Most Important Social Skills Milestones Your Child Should Be Reaching

There are specific social skills milestones that all children should reach. Here are some of the most important social milestones your child should be reaching between the ages of one and fourteen. Please note that this list is not meant to replace consulting with a professional. Should you need professional guidance call 914.488.5282 for more information.

By the age of one:
• Smile spontaneously, responds to his own name, respond to no, responds differently to strangers than to familiar people, imitates simple actions of others

Between ages one and two:
• Refers to self by name, initiates self- play and will play alone, recognize self in mirror or picture, imitates adult behaviors in play, helps put things away

Between ages two and three:
• Plays near other children, will watch them and briefly join in their play, begins pretend play, participates in simple group activity, knows gender identity, defends own positions, symbolically uses objects when playing

Between ages three and four:
• Joins in play with other children for longer periods of time and begins to interact, share toys, takes turns with assistance, and begins acting out whole scenes in dramatic play

Between ages four and five:
• Comfortably plays and interacts with other children, shows interest in exploring gender differences and has realistic dramatic play with specific details

Between ages five and six:
• Chooses own friends, plays competitive games, engages in cooperative play with other children involving group decisions, role assignments, and fair play.

Between ages six and ten:
• Makes friends easily and friends become more important, knows right from wrong, needs love and understanding, becomes more self-aware and self-esteem can be fragile, becomes a better loser and more able to accept blame, feels guilt and shame, likes clubs and teams, wants to be part of a group.

Between ages ten and fourteen:
• Establishes individuality and separation from parents; friends and social life become the primary motivations of behavior.

You should seek qualified professional guidance if your child has not achieved all of the milestones of his age group by the time he reaches the next age level. If you are concerned about you child’s social development call 914.488.5282 for more information about how we can help.

Posted in


Isa Marrs is the Founder and Executive Director of the Where I Can Be Me® social skills program. She is a board-certified speech-language pathologist who specializes in pragmatic language (social skills) disorders in children. Read More