North Carolina Early Learning and Development Progressions: Birth to Five

Domain: NC Foundations for Early Learning: Emotional and Social Development (ESD)

Subdomain: Developing a Sense of Self with Others

Goal: Children form relationships and interact positively with familiar adults who are consistent and responsive to their needs.

Skill Progression: Separation

Age: 12-15 Months

You may choose a different domain, go back, or click on a skill below for more information.

Resists control, says, “No.” ”Don’t”; throws temper tantrum to get own way; moves away from adult

Situations for Observation of Skill

Watch the child and adult in natural interactions, especially when the adult is trying to get the child to do something she doesn’t like to do.

Elicitation Strategy

If needed ask the adult to try to get the child to help with picking up toys, dressing or some similar task.

Behavior Observed

The child resists the adult’s attempt to get her to do something she doesn’t want to do. This is typical assertion of separateness and desire to be independent.

Routines-based Intervention (Embedded Instruction)

Dealing with tantrums can be difficult. Help parents understand that giving in to the child’s demands will just increase the tantrums. Model how to reflect what the child feels, and state in simple terms why the child cannot do what she wants. Talk about setting limits and giving the child choices between two options.

 North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015

©2015 by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit