Baby Social Development: From Birth to 2 Years
Babies develop very fast during their first year of life. A baby’s first relationship is with family members; as family members get the honor of witnessing their bundle of joy express a range of emotions.
The quality of the relationship between infants and parents, especially between months 6 and 18, seems to define the quality of the baby’s later relationships.
Babies are born social creatures, and they begin to connect to and collect information from their closest relations from their earliest days.
Within weeks, they are cooing, deliberately smiling and responding to their communication whims. Cooing begins to take on the form of more organized jabbering by the end of the baby’s first year.
In the course of the first year, babies rapidly develop skills, new ways to reason and communicate, as well as cognitive skills (problem-solving). They quickly learn to interact with people.
From Birth to 4 Months
Babies start learning to be consoled by caregivers thus form strong bonds and attachment to them.
By the third to the fourth month, they are smiling spontaneously at random faces and enjoy playing with them. They coo and babble in an attempt to talk. They also develop different cries for different needs, like when they are hungry, wet or simply tired.
Babies at this stage will respond to love and affection, and show happiness and sadness. They may mimic facial expressions.
5 to 8 Months
At five months, babies start to recognize faces and will respond to their caregivers when they engage them by sticking out their tongues, patting them or using toys. They also develop stranger anxiety and react to strangers.
By month 7, babies begin to develop an interest in looking in the mirror. They also use sounds to express happiness, excitement, disappointment, and sadness.
9 to 12 Months
By month 9, the infant’s stranger anxiety has reached its peak, and they get upset when separated from their caregivers. They also play favorites with people and also begin to develop an attachment to favorite toys, stuffed animals or “blankie”. They display fearfulness or anxiety about new things.
Babies begin to imitate conversations by using inflection and pauses to make sounds that imitate talking. They also begin to use simple words like da-da or uh oh.
When you call their name they will respond to you. At this point, they are also using gestures or sounds to get your attention.
One to Two Years
Between 9 and 18 months, babies have developed a more advanced understanding not only of other people and things but also of themselves. It is during this stage that the child’s will is fully manifested.
Encourage your toddler at this point to explore and expand their interests and drives, so they can begin to develop a sense of autonomy and self-sufficient behavior e.g. dressing or feeding themselves, etc.
This is also a good time to introduce your toddler to books thus help them build a strong foundation for their reading skills in the future.