Many argue that nothing is more important than your child's social and emotional health. In fact, young children's learning is closely tied to caring relationships. Raising a child who is confident, emotionally healthy, and able to work and play well with others is critical to her later success in school and in life. Building your child's confidence, fostering his sense of self, and making emotional connections with him helps your child grow into independence, and eventually, adulthood.
Infants never seem to tire of the image of faces - of other people or the reflection in the mirror. Given a small, safe mirror, he will gaze at the reflection again and again trying to figure out who that baby is! Children at this age haven't yet discovered where "me" starts and "you" ends.
- Say your baby's name while holding the mirror in front of him.
- Tell him how handsome he is and point out his adorable body parts like his nose and mouth.
- Snuggle him close and remind him how much you love him.
Even babies get bored. If you're out and about, be sure to keep your child stimulated and active when she shows signs of getting restless.
- Give your baby one toy at a time. She probably won't do much except hold, suck and inspect it. That's okay, that is learning at this stage.
- While you're waiting is a great time to read books with your baby. Babies like books with pictures of simple objects that they see in their environments.
- Have some other types of toys available in your bag, too, since babies will move from one activity to another very quickly.
As soon as your baby is able to hold things, he can assist during face cleaning (hand baby a wet cloth to hold), or table wiping! Your child will feel as though he is able to do what you do if you hand him a sponge to help "clean" the high chair tray!
- Encourage your baby to feel safe and secure by gently touching him as you clean him up.
- Talk to your baby about his body parts as you clean him (nose, face, mouth, hands, toes.)
- Talk to your infant about what you are doing - "let's clean your hands now."
Getting out and seeing what is going on in the community gives the whole family a boost, including the youngest of children. Changing your baby's environment helps your baby learn about the world - and gives you a change of pace, too.
- Focus on your baby's verbal and non-verbal cues. "You like riding in the car." "You smile when you go on the bus."
- Babies learn a lot about language by being talked to and by hearing you say the names of "new" sights and sounds in the environment.
- Change the position of your child often so that she can see what's going on around her.
GOING FOR A WALK
Babies love going for walks. They love the fresh air, the new sights and sounds, and the time with family. A variety of activities, both indoors and out, is important for your baby to learn about the world.
- Babies want to touch everything and put things in their mouths. It is important to make sure objects are large enough to prevent choking.
- Make sure your baby is positioned to be able to see the things around him.
- Talk to him as you go for a walk and tell him what he's seeing and what you're doing together.