Baby College classes provide a safe and secure environment for babies to interact with each other and with the adults attending the classes. Having fun, learning through play and understanding how to connect with other babies and children is very important to us at Baby College.
Socialisation begins from birth with skin-to-skin contact, breastfeeding, eye contact, smiles and cuddles. In the first three years of life the most important socialisation happens at home; for your baby it is all about you, your partner and any siblings they may have.
It is still important that as your baby grows, they start to interact with other adults and babies and larger groups of people. This is because interacting and playing with both peers and adults will give your little one lots of learning opportunities, both emotionally and cognitively. Providing your baby with a socially interesting environment will help them develop strong language skills; increase their confidence; develop and explore their creativity and help them learn empathy and social intelligence.
Understanding how to interact with their peers can often be quite confusing for young children. It’s not until they are approaching the end of their time at Baby College that they start to develop empathy for others. Sharing and taking turns are hard concepts to accept when you are two!
Our classes provide a comfortable setting for children to experiment with and practise new skills such as sharing, cooperation, taking turns and showing respect for others. Our very first activity within the classes is our Hello Song where every baby and child is welcomed into the classes so that even the youngest attendee can start to learn about social interaction.
How to help your baby and young child’s social development
Skin-to-skin contact: baby massage is really helpful
Lots of cuddles
Plenty of eye contact and talking/smiling with your baby
Singing songs and dancing together round your house
Go for walks and talk about what they can see
Lots pf play or cuddles with extended members of the family and siblings
Using scarves or small bits of cloth to start playing peek-a-boo
Singing lots of nursery rhymes and performing action rhymes
Use sign language to ease frustrations and aid communication
Respond to their babbling and attempts to talk to you – pay attention and listen
Play peek-a-boo games or simple hiding games (hiding objects under a cup etc). This will help your toddler to start to understand about object permanence
Attend classes or meet up with friends
Play outside and let them roam a little
Older toddlers and young children
Let them explore their world using role play
Remember that you are a role model. Your little one will learn about empathy and social interaction by watching how you react with others: members of your family, friends, shop assistants etc
Be interested in what they are interested in. Remember to ask questions and listen to their replies
Discuss the events of the day. Perhaps one of their little friends hurt themselves by bumping their head. Talk to the them about it and how it would have made their friend feel. Did it hurt their head? Do you think it’s still hurting… etc
Know your child’s limits. Some children are just not as social as others, so don’t push them too much and make sure they have plenty of quiet play at home with the family or by themselves.
Knowing a child’s limit is very important to us in our classes. We encourage parents/carers to let their children go at their own pace. We recognise that all our babies and children are individuals and should be allowed to express themselves accordingly. We really do like to encourage all our parents and carers to join in with all the activities though as, not only is this fun for you, it sets a good example to all the babies and children too.