Don’t you love it when your baby gives you a big goofy smile every time he sees you? Or squeals and coos whenever you snuggle together? Or calms himself by hugging his favorite binky when he’s upset? Of course, you do! You’ll be amazed at all of the life and interpersonal skills your baby will build as his social emotional development advances between 3-6 months. Social emotional development refers to your baby's ability to experience, express, and manage his emotions and behaviors, and his ability to establish and maintain positive relationships with others.
How 3-6-Month-Olds Flirt Their Way to Building Relationships
Learning how to develop meaningful and positive relationships is a fundamental social emotional skill your baby will need to develop to succeed in life. Why? Because building relationships is what allows him to make friends, offer help to those in need, and cooperate with peers at school and at work in the future.
“But how can my baby begin to build relationships when he’s only 3-6 months old?!” you may ask. Simple – by flirting!
At 3-6 months old, don’t be surprised if you see him gazing at everyone around him, trying to attract their attention with his big drooly grin and the twinkle in his eyes.1 He’ll find ways to reach out and entice you and others to play, even though he may be stuck in his infant seat. He’ll relish in having face time with you, staring sweetly into your eyes as he chats you up with his babbles and squeals. He’ll also become more interested in watching other children play and may respond by waving his hand, making noises, or reaching out to touch their face, hair or hands if approached by another child.1
How to Support Your Baby’s Social Emotional Development
As your baby matures into an active infant, he is learning how to communicate in different ways so that he can connect with people in meaningful ways.2 You can help him develop strong relationship building skills by reciprocating his playful coos and gestures, having positive daily conversations with him,1 and taking him to playdates or the park so that he can observe and interact with other children.3 And don’t forget that you are one of your baby’s biggest role models! Be sure to show him how to create and maintain positive relationships by being friendly with him and others, and treating everyone with respect and consideration.
1 Maryland State Department of Education (2010). Healthy Beginnings: Supporting Development and Learning from Birth through Three Years of Age.
2 Florida Partnership for School Readiness (2004). Florida Birth to Three Learning and Developmental Standards.
3 Washington State Department of Early Learning (2012). Washington State Early Learning and Development Guidelines: Birth through 3rd Grade.