Baby Development: Socialization

It all starts with you. As parents, you are your child's first playmates. You're their favorite person. They love to hear your voice, see your face and feel your hand when you touch them. Through you, your child will get to know other people and begin to enjoy their company. This is the beginning of the development of their social skills.

At what age does your child start interacting with other children?

From birth to age three, a child's social skills mature gradually. From day one, your child learns to adapt and react to the people around him. In the first year, he focuses on his abilities (enter objectsHe's also very good at communicating with his parents. He likes to be with other people, but prefers to be with his mom and dad.

Baby smiles at his mother

Around the age of 2, he begins to enjoy playing with other children. However, like any other skill, communicating with other children requires trial and error. At first, he's reluctant to share his toys. Then he becomes a better playmate as he learns to empathize with others. By the time he's three, he'll be able to make real friends.

How does your child begin to open up to others?

  • Your child is one month old

Even newborns are social creatures. They love to be touched, held, hugged and smiled at. Even a one-month-old baby will start to show you his face. He'll enjoy looking at your face and even try to imitate you. Stick out your tongue and see if they do the same.

  • A 3-month-old baby

At this stage, babies spend their waking hours observing what's going on around them. He will even smile for the first time, which is a precious moment for many parents. Soon, he'll become an expert in the "language of smiles": he'll start to communicate with you by smiling and laughing.

  • A 4-month-old baby

He'll become more open to new people and accept them with laughter and joy. But no one is the same as Mom or Dad. He'll only respond to you with the greatest enthusiasm. It's a sure sign that you're both very attached.

  • A 7-month-old baby

As the baby learns to move around, he'll start to take an interest in other children. However, this will probably still be limited to a glance and a wave of the hand. From time to time, they'll smile, chirp and imitate each other, but most of the time, they'll be preoccupied with what's in front of them.

Two children playing separately in the sandbox

When two babies under a year old play with toys, they play side by side but not with each other. In fact, your child is already too busy developing other skills to really make friends with another child. At this age, family members are preferable. They may even begin to fear strangers. Fear of strangers is common.

  • A 12-month-old child

By the end of the first year, the child may seem antisocial: he cries when you leave him, and is frightened when picked up by non-parents. Many toddlers suffer from separation anxiety, which peaks between 10 and 18 months. Your child will put you first and be anxious when you're not around. Only your presence can calm him.

  • A child between 13 and 23 months

It's different with young children who can already walk. They're more interested in the world, especially when it concerns them. As your child learns to talk and communicate with others, they also learn to make friends. They now get on well with other children, whether their own age or older. However, when a child is 1 or 2 years old, they defend their toys, which can be difficult for parents who want their child to learn to share them. He also imitates his friends and spends a lot of time watching what they do. At this age, he becomes independent, refusing to hold your hand in the street or throwing a tantrum when you tell him not to do something.

  • A child aged 24-36 months

Children become even more egocentric at the age of two or three. They can't yet put themselves in another person's shoes or understand that others feel the same way. But as they get older, they learn to share, wait their turn and maybe even make a best friend or two.

Two children playing together

The next stage in your baby's socialization

Children are naturally attracted to others, especially other children. As they get older, babies become more sociable and enjoy each other's company more and more.

Children learn a lot from watching and playing together. By bonding with other children and enjoying playing with them, they'll develop real and lasting friendships.

Your role as a parent

Spend lots of one-on-one time with your child, especially in the first few months. They love the attention and love making faces with you. Invite friends and family to your home. Children love visitors, big or small, especially if they're all in love.

If your child starts to fear strangers, there's no need to feel uncomfortable. Babies generally become nervous around 7 months when they are in the presence of strangers. If he cries, for example when you put him in the arms of a distant relative, pick him up and start being gentle. Wait until he's comfortable in your arms and the other person is close by.

Then ask the guest to play with and talk to them while you hold them. Then sit them on the visitor's lap and play with them for a short while. Then leave the room for a few minutes and see how they react. If they scream, take them back into your arms and comfort them, and repeat the process later. Young children learn a lot from their friends. So invite other children to play, and make sure there are enough toys for everyone. Your child may find it difficult to share.

Two children playing with toys

If your two- or three-year-old behaves selfishly, you may be worried that you've spoiled him too much. Don't worry too much, children of this age are very self-centered by nature. However, it's important to show them how to behave. Remember to say "thank you" and "please", praise others when you're pleased with them, and share your stuff. Your child learns by observing you.

Enroll your child in music or sports classes so they can meet other toddlers. They'll soon learn to make friends and begin to enjoy an active social life.

When should you worry about your child?

If your child, who is about a year old, doesn't seem to be interested in anything other than his or her parents, or doesn't even want to play with you, talk to your doctor. He or she may have hearing or other problems.

If your child seems overly aggressive between the ages of 1 and 3 and can't spend time with other children without biting, hitting or pushing, you should talk to your doctor. This behavior may be linked to fear or insecurity. Your doctor will be able to suggest ways to address these issues and your child's needs. (Babies may bite their friends, but this is related to discovering what they can do with their teeth.) ) Although babies aren't always friendly with each other, especially when fighting over a toy, it's not normal for them to be aggressive all the time.

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