What helps babies and young children develop proficient social skills? How do children's early relationships and social interactions influence their future emotional resilience and wellbeing? The Social Child thoughtfully discusses the key principles of children's social development alongside descriptions of everyday practice. It aims to provide the reader with a rich understanding of the social skills and relationships that children develop as well as their discovery of communication and language. The book explores the importance of developing genuine, trusted and reciprocal relationships with babies and young children and shows how a child's intrinsic drive to be social can be nourished and supported. Throughout the book, the author emphasises the importance of play in developing children's relationships and language skills and aims to help practitioners to: understand the factors that can help and hinder fundamental social processes for babies and young children; create secure and unconditional psychological and physical environments for children to practice their emerging language and communication skills; reflect on their own teaching methods to heighten their receptiveness to children's social attempts to communicate through effective observation and planning; engage with parents and carers to help support children's learning at home whilst maintaining the values of the family; celebrate the uniqueness of each child and provide learning experiences that are appropriate for individuals with particular learning needs, be they physical, emotional or cognitive to ensure that every child has an equal opportunity to succeed. Emphasising the importance of understanding the theory that underpins children's social development, this accessible text shows practitioners how they can use this knowledge to provide learning opportunities that nourish children's emerging communication and social skills.