Social Development

Your baby loves yabbering on the phone. With a high voice, mimicking sounds and unique intonations make you laugh but it probably reminds you of someone – you. Imitating significant others is the first step to your baby developing social skills. How to be social and form relationships is something we learn throughout our whole life. Your baby learns the rules little by little while in contact with close family circle then as time goes by they will refine their ability to respond to others – first through giggles and bonding, then squabbling and rivalry. It is through such experiences that your developing baby will learn how to live in society.

Your baby first discovers the world through their family

For most babies, their world for the first 6 months or so revolves around just a few significant people – mostly you. They love this relationship – full of smiles, cuddles and pleasant facial expressions.

Enjoy being a playmate to your baby.Playing with your baby, talking to them about things in their surroundings and reading from simple picture and story books helps cultivate mental growth and intelligence. Keep their environment safe and let them freely explore and discover.

Brothers and sisters play an important role in your baby’s development – showing immense pleasure and delight in their company.

Between 6 weeks and 6 months old your baby starts to smile at different people. Everything changes after seven months with the well-known stage of separation anxiety. Your baby, who once smiled at everyone, suddenly starts to cry when they see an unfamiliar face. This could even happen with granny and granddad who may have travelled a distance to see their grandson or granddaughter or even dad if he is not home much in their waking hours or works away for weeks at a time. It’s important to support your baby and make them feel comfortable and as they grow they will soon move past this phase; you can’t take it personally, as much as it disappoints.

Meeting others

By the time your baby knows how to walk, their world opens up as if by magic. They now know how to communicate, make themselves understood and take every opportunity to make friends with children their own size. However, your baby may not yet be ready to share toys or give up their turn on the swing. Be patient, your baby will learn the rules of sharing as they get older. Having contact with others will help your baby construct their individual personality. At playgroup or day care or in the park – they will love watching children their own age but also older children. Your baby will begin to imitate behaviours both negative and positive – choosing who they spend time with is very important.

Grandparents play an important role in your baby’s development They can teach your baby how to live life at a different pace and have a different outlook on the values of the world.

My baby is shy – should I be concerned?

If your baby is afraid of unfamiliar faces, cries when you leave them, refuses to say hello and goodbye – don’t worry. This phase is usually only temporary and can often be connected to your baby’s nature. When you learn and understand how to manage your baby’s emotions, life will become much less stressful for the both of you. Encourage your baby to go towards others while you are nearby and enrol them in an activity group that you attend together – they’ll learn and watch how to make friends. If your baby genuinely appears to be uninterested in others, withdrawn and has little eye contact – discuss this with your doctor or child health professional.

If your child is often aggressive towards other children, and this attitude lasts a few weeks, they could be feeling insecure or overtired. Discussing this behaviour with a child health expert may help you better understand their behaviour and how to handle it.