Older Infant: Self-Awareness

Surprised older infant.

The development of self-awareness is an important part of social emotional development for infants. In this stage of development you can see children grow more and more aware of their own needs and feelings.


Age: 8-18 Months
Domain: Social Emotional Development
Sub-domain: Self-Awareness


Progress and Support

Older infants show progress when they

  • clap hands for self after accomplishing something,
  • look at self in mirror and make sounds,
  • express feelings of surprise, sadness, happiness, and anger,
  • show preferences for certain toys and objects.

You support development when you

  • acknowledge the child’s new skills and abilities,
  • talk about how the child is feeling and make facial expressions to illustrate those feelings (smile when happy, frown when sad, etc.),
  • play naming games with parts of the face,
  • imitate the child’s facial expressions and notice if he imitates yours.

Resources: Minnesota’s Early Childhood Indicators of Progress, 2007

Author: Nate McCallister

Nate McCallister started with SonShine Learning Center in 2003 as a preschool teacher. Today, he works as the organization’s director of operations and is the site director at the Luther location. He earned a bachelor’s degree in technical communication and professional writing from Metropolitan State University and studied early childhood education at St. Paul College.