Social Developmental milestones for Infants
How does your baby learn to connect with other people? How and when does he start to develop relationships?
It all begins with you. From birth, your baby will look to you to meet his needs. At first, these will be food and comfort. Gradually, though, as he becomes more alert, he will want more attention and stimulation.
You are your baby's first playmate and his favourite person. He will rely on you for his every need in life: love, food, comfort, and learning. He will delight at the sound of your voice, the sight of your face, and the touch of your hand.
Your baby's feelings of security with you will give him the confidence to start developing deeper relationships with others. With your help, he will begin to enjoy their company, too. This is how your baby will develop his social skills.
When will my baby develop social skills?From the moment he's born, your baby will start to learn to respond and adapt to the people around him (Murray and Andrews 2005).
During his first year, his focus will be on discovering what he can do, such as picking up objects, walking, and chatting and playing with you. He'll enjoy seeing other people, but will definitely prefer his parents for company.
Around the time he turns two years old, he will begin to enjoy playing with other children (Sheridan 2008). But as with any other skill, he will need to learn how to socialise by trial and error. At first, he will be unable to share his toys (Sheridan 2008). Later, he'll learn how to empathise with his playmates. By three years old, he'll be on his way to making real friends.
How does socialisation develop?One month
Even newborns are social creatures. Your baby will love to be touched, held, cooed to, and smiled at (NHS nd, Murray and Andrews 2005, Sheridan 2008).
As early as the first month, your baby may begin to experiment with making faces at you. He'll enjoy watching your face and may mimic some of your gestures (Meltzoff and Moore 2002, Sheridan 2008). Stick out your tongue and watch as he does the same (ICAN 2007, Murray and Andrews 2005).
At this age, when you hold your baby in your arms, you will naturally be holding him about 20cm to 30cm from your face. When your baby is born, this is the distance at which he can best focus. Nature is ensuring that yours is the first face he will recognise.
By two months, your baby will spend his waking hours watching what goes on around him. He may even flash his first gorgeous smile, a momentous and heart-warming moment for you (Sheridan 2008).
Your baby will become an expert at "smile talk", starting a conversation with you by sending a smile your way and gurgling at the same time (Murray and Andrews 2005). Be sure to respond to him and take turns playing the game.
Your baby will also enjoy playing face-to-face games with you, for example, playing boo, or being tickled under the chin repeatedly (Murray and Andrews 2005).
Four months to five months
Your baby's becoming more open to new people, and greets them with squeals and glee. Still, no one comes close to mum or dad. Your baby will reserve his most enthusiastic reaction for you. This is a sure sign that you have bonded with each other.
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