Your baby’s first year is filled with many challenges and new experiences for everyone in your family. One of the many things that your baby is going to be learning in his first year is the ability to socialize and get along with others.
The first place that your baby is going to learn to socialize with others is within your own family. You should also be exposing your baby to playmates and other people outside your immediate family. This is so that he can learn communication and interaction skills at as young an age as possible.
No matter how young your baby is, it is never too soon to let your baby enjoy social activities. The earlier you start to teach social skills to your baby the better his social skills will be when he is older. You should be considering getting out with your baby a couple of times a week so that you are both interacting with other parents and babies.
Your baby won’t really “play” with other babies. Babies will, however, be very interested in watching the other babies and at times may interact with them by hitting, touching, or grabbing them. Babies won’t participate in a “playing” activity until they are toddlers. What your baby gains by being exposed to other babies is the stimulation of being around other babies.
There are several ways that you can get out of the house and socialize with your baby. One thing you should keep in mind is that you should keep your baby away from other babies if your baby isn’t feeling well or if one of the other babies is sick. Babies are very susceptible to colds and you will want to limit your baby’s exposure to illness whenever possible.
Here are some things you may want to consider:
- Try to expose your baby to as many social settings as possible. Taking your baby out is a great way for you both to have a change of scenery and vary your daily routine. Your baby will enjoy going out with you, whether you are just going to the store or joining a parent-baby exercise class at your recreation center. He will be excited and stimulated by all the new faces, voices, and settings that he will encounter on his adventure.
- Find a parent/baby playgroup to join. Your baby will enjoy watching other babies and children while you interact with old and new friends. The more social settings that you take your baby to, the more broad his world becomes.
- Taking your baby to a playgroup or for a swim at the pool gives your baby the chance to be part of a larger group. Your baby will quickly learn that the smiles and coos he uses on you at home get the same response when you are both out. He will learn that he can have a positive impact on others around him as he gets the response that he is looking for.
There are many things that you can do in your own home so that your baby gets the socialization that he needs. Have your baby sit with you at the dinner table whether he has been introduced to solids or not. This is a great way for your family to spend quality time and for your baby to watch as others interact around him.