The first and their best friend in life is you and then your partner and siblings. Baby’s preference
is driven by how they feel when they are with them. By how they are held and interact. This is
why lots of cuddles, smiles and eye contact is the most effective way to build trust and attachment.
As the baby learns to sit up and reaches out for new and interesting objects and people, they automatically become more engaged and activate their little world.
Your baby will be most interested in things similar in size to them. They are always fascinated, curious
and ready to engage with what they see around them. So be alert to their every gesture, movement
of the eye and the sounds they make.
As they begin to move around, they will naturally move towards people and things that attract their attention and are of interest to them. This inherent trait is what helps build new relationships and display the first signs of friendship.
Be alert & responsive
Pay attention to whatever the child is focussing on. Is the baby looking or pointing at something? Or making a sound or changing their facial expression, always respond. While you may not be able to do this all the time, look for these opportunities when you are with the baby. Like when you are giving them a bath, or getting them dressed or taking them out for a stroll in the park. Every opportunity is a chance to explore and strengthen the bond with you.
Always be ready
Support and encourage by offering your baby the comfort of a hug and gentle words, helping them, playing with them, and reacting to them. Imitate, make a sound or facial expression or smile and nod to let the baby know you’re looking at the same thing as they are.
Be actively involved by picking up an object the child is pointing to and bringing it closer. The baby will then know that their thoughts and feelings are being noticed and understood.
By doing this you are in a way rewarding a child’s interests and curiosity. Absence of a positive response can actually trigger stress in a child. So be spontaneous and follow your instincts.
Give a name to everything
Remember to name whatever a baby is seeing, doing, or feeling. This way you are helping them make language connections in the brain. Make it a habit to name everything — a person, a thing, an action, a feeling, anything really.
For instance, when a child points to its feet, you can also point to them and say, ‘yes, your feet!’ By naming whatever a child is focusing upon at that moment, you are helping them to associate and begin the long journey of understanding the world around them. A name also gives the child words they can try and repeat and use when they are ready.
Keep an interaction going…
Waiting for response from the baby, gives the child a chance to react. Remember, waiting is critical. Babies and toddlers need the time to form their responses, as they’re also learning so many other things at the same time. This gets them to learn self-control, develop their own ideas, build their confidence, and eventually learn how to get along with others.
Practice endings & beginnings
Watch for signals that indicate that the child is done or is ready to move on to do something else. They indicate this by dropping what they are holding, and picking up something else. Or just move away.
Always notice when they’re ready to end one activity and are ready to begin another. Keep engaging, supporting them to start something new. When with your baby, you can take the lead, explore the world together, anything to keep interactions going.
These interactions provide an environment rich in experiences. Laying a firm foundation for a child’s learning and behavioural responses and helping acquire skills they would need as they grow. Over time, this will become second nature to you and every moment together becomes a fun moment. An experience to be encouraged, cherished and enjoyed to the fullest.
If you have read so far, it is perhaps time to visit and participate in a My Gym baby & toddler trial class. You will quickly discover how toddlers are encouraged to socialize with other children of the same age. Observe how the little ones really look forward to seeing each other and get very excited when one of their favourites arrive. These are the first steps for them in forming friendships. It is not just engrossing but all happening for real and in real-time!
If you are keen to know more you are welcome to visit any of the My Gym centers nearer to where you live. Please call or email to schedule an appointment. Set the ball rolling.