Your baby's emotions begin developing as soon as she's born, according to Scholastic.com. Based on your cues and reaction to her emotions, she learns how to express negative feelings as well as positive ones. Activities to promote emotional development are usually something that you do anyway, so don't worry about blocking out specific emotional development time. Understanding these activities makes it easier to incorporate them into your day.
Young infants spend a lot of time examining the faces of people around them. Your baby's eyesight isn't perfect yet, so get close to her face and show her how different emotions look, and label them as you go. For example, smile big and tell her how happy she makes you. As your baby gets a little older, prop her up in front of a mirror and make faces at your reflections together. If she cries, tell her that the baby in the mirror is sad. If her eyes widen and she waves her arms, talk about how excited she is. This helps your little one learn to read other people's emotions based on facial expressions.
A safe and secure environment promotes healthy emotional development in infants, according to the Baby Development News website. Spend time each day cuddling your baby. Wrap up in blankets and snuggle on the couch, in your bed or even just on the floor in her bedroom. Read books while you cuddle or simply rock her and sing to her. This fosters trust and affection between the two of you, which spurs emotional development at the same time.
No, your infant isn't forming words and you aren't going to understand what she's saying, but this doesn't mean you shouldn't have a conversation with your little one. Knowing that she can count on you to respond to her builds trust and helps her emotions develop. So when she coos and shrieks, respond right away by acknowledging her excitement or saying something in return about what you're doing. Have conversations in the car, during bath time, at the dinner table or while you are playing with toys together.
You probably know other parents with babies in your area. Set up time for your babies to play together while you get some some adult interaction. Infants at this age won't engage in traditional play, but they do enjoy looking at each other. Set them up near one another so they can gaze at, coo or wave their arms at one another. This helps both infants learn to read the other's emotions and build their social skills at the same time.
- The University of Alabama: Nurturing Your Child's Emotional Development: Infants and Toddlers
- Kansas Parent Information Resource Center: Social Emotional Development
- Education: Building a Healthy Foundation: Social and Emotional Development in Infants and Toddlers
- Scholastic.com: How Your Baby Learns to Love
- Baby Development News: How To Easily Promote Infant Emotional Development
- Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images