One of the primary ways that your baby learns is through interaction with herself and with others. As her sense of self emerges, she learns intrapersonal skills and develops her emotional intelligence. She becomes aware of herself, acquires confidence, learns to regulate her emotions and to be intentional, and connects with the spiritual world. She develops her social intelligence by learning to get along with others through interpersonal skills such as empathy, compassion, and cooperation, and by developing strong character and values. These intra- and interpersonal skills are another foundation for your child’s social development.
Your baby’s relationships with her parents, caretakers, and family members in her first few years create her attachment style. This is the foundation of her abilities to know herself and to work with others. These abilities prepare her to listen, to learn, and to focus in order to optimize her potential. You can help your baby develop her interactive pathway by exposing her to experiences that stimulate her self-understanding and her understanding of others, as well as experiences that help her learn to integrate her personal growth and her relationships with others.
The pathway for your child to develop her sense of self requires understanding and supporting herself. When your baby becomes aware that she has a separate body and mind that is distinct from those of others, she begins to recognize that she is a unique individual. As she further develops her understanding of object permanence, she begins to recognize herself, which helps her form her self-identity. She begins to identify with her body and with her actions when they produce an effect. She is also aware of her gender. As she gets older, she can learn to discriminate her emotions as a way to direct her behavior and to develop her autonomy. These discoveries lay the foundation for her self-esteem, confidence, spirit, and will, as she learns to reflect and to act intentionally. This pathway of self-understanding needs the support of observant parents who can affirm her self-discoveries.
You can help your child develop a sense of herself by giving her a chance to see her reflection in a mirror, talking to her directly so that she sees your face and your smile, calling her name, pointing to her, and showing her photos of herself. Encourage her to become aware of her body by massaging and exploring her fingers, toes, eyes, ears, nose, and other areas. Be attentive to your baby by responding to her needs and actions and by acknowledging her accomplishments. Set limits that are clear, consistent, and fair. Let your child do things for herself and complete simple chores so that she feels valuable and competent.
The pathway to interact with others requires understanding and working with others. Your child learns through relationships with parents, caretakers, siblings, family members, and friends. In her first few months, she can distinguish between different faces and voices. When she is around other people, she watches and imitates their actions as she learns to interact with others. Because she does not have a clear boundary between herself and the outside world, she sees everyone as an extension of herself.
In order to interact successfully, your child must be able to understand her own emotions and to express them appropriately. She also needs to know how to read and respond to social cues.
For her first two to three years, your child may not understand how to share, compromise, or negotiate with other children. However, she can still learn social skills by regularly interacting with others. In order to interact successfully, your child must be able to understand her own emotions and to express them appropriately. She also needs to know how to read and respond to social cues. You can help your child develop her sense of others by arranging times and a variety of experiences for interaction. In her early months, she does not have a clear boundary between herself and the outside world. She sees everything as an extension of herself. Later, she can distinguish between different faces and voices. When she is around other children or adults, she watches and imitates their actions as she learns how to interact with others.
When you set up play dates with other children, prepare activities that can be played side by side in a way that promotes peace and discourages conflict. Use dolls and puppets to role-play feelings and interactions. Reflect your child’s feelings back to her, and discuss her emotions. Model the act of showing respect and compassion for others. Offer opportunities for your child to be in diverse contexts so that she will learn and appreciate the perspectives of other races and cultures.