Older Infant: Trust and Emotional Security

Posted by Nate McCallister on November 29, 2015
Older infant looks at mom while she speask to him.

Trust and emotional security are important parts of social emotional development for infants. Healthy relationships are the cornerstone for progress in this domain. At this stage, infants will bond with familiar adults and begin to show caution around strangers.


Age: 8-18 Months
Domain: Social Emotional Development
Sub-domain: Trust and Emotional Security


Progress and Support

Older infants show progress when they

  • cry for “mama” or “daddy” if upset,
  • greet caregiver with a hug or kiss,
  • point and name people they know in pictures,
  • want to be comforted by a caregiver when hungry or tired.

You support development when you

  • recognize the outbursts your child has when you leave as signs she knows and trusts you,
  • let the child take refuge with the primary caregiver when they are feeling frightened and unsure of strangers,
  • tell the child where you are going and when you’ll be back (“I’m going to work. I’ll be back to pick you after naps.”).

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.