The Social and Emotional Development of Babies

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A newborn will go through several changes in the first year of life in terms of social and emotional development. Even though the baby was drowsy when he was born, he will soon be awake, receptive, and eager to communicate with those around him (Neiman and Savage, 1997, p.218). Every month, the baby will attain social milestones, such as becoming interested in conversations, smiling, developing ways to interact with you, mimicking others, expressing envy if you pay attention to another baby, and, one day, expressing nervousness around strange people. This report will discuss the activities that support the participation and engagement of parents with their babies. It will begin by giving a session plan which will be used for conducting an hour long session with parents. The session plan will consist of: type of session to be conducted, the timing of the session, core activities of the session and the resources. I will conclude this report by showing how a parent’s activity may affect a child’s emotional and social development.

Literature review

One important aspect of emotional and social development in a child is in their ability to identify and understand their emotions (Escalona, 1982, p. 671). Children experience two categories of emotions: primary and secondary emotions. The child is born with primary emotions and are brought about by factors such as fear, joy, anger, sadness, interest, disgust and surprise. Secondary emotions usually appear as the child is growing. They are brought about by the child’s interaction with the environment. These emotions are: anxious fear, jealousy, disdain, envy, guilt, pride, empathy, shame, sympathy, love and bitterness. A parent or caregiver should support the child in many ways in order to acknowledge his/her expressions and emotions (Neiman and Savage, 1997, p. 223). It is important for the child to know that it is safe for them to express all kinds of emotions and also to know that there are healthy boundaries to expressing these emotions in order to limit the aggressive type.

Session Plan

Type of Session

The type of session I will conduct is an interactive and practical one. This entails discussing the parenting activities that support parental participation and engagement with the babies. This session will also involve feedback from the parents for the activities that I will be discussing. I will give them time to discuss the activities and present questions. We will also have a practical session in which the parents will have an opportunity to practice the activities that have been discussed.

Timing of the Session

I will allocate 20 minutes to discuss the topic and allow parents to discuss the activities mentioned. In this time, they will pose questions on the topic as well as present their views. I will take 30 minutes for the practical session and this is where the parents will have the opportunity to practice what they’ve learned. I will conclude the meeting in the last 10 minutes and thank the parents for participating in the session.

Beginning and Ending of the Session

I will give a lecture on the topic as the parents take notes. The parents will then have a chance to discuss the topic as well as participate in a practical session with their children. I will then end the session with a summary of what had been discussed. The most important parts of the session will be the discussion part as well as the practical session.

Core Activities of the Session

The session will be informal and parents will be free to participate. I will be looking forward to see the parents participating and offering their views after I have introduced the topic and given a lecture on the same. My role will be as a lecturer at the beginning of the session as I offer my views on the topic; as a moderator when the parents are discussing and giving their views on the topic; and as a coach during the practical sessions to guide the parents on the activities they will be undertaking. As a practitioner, I will create a friendly atmosphere by allowing parents to offer their views freely. I will also be ready to answer their queries on the topic.

Resources of the Session

The resources needed in the session will include a white board where I will jot down key points as I give the lecture to the parents, children books and children toy games.

Ways in Which the Session Supports Social and Emotional Development of Babies

This session deals with the activities that support parental participation and engagement. Consequently, it will greatly help in the social and emotional development of the babies. This is because when parents participate in such activities, the babies recognize and register them in their brains. The child will feel loved and accepted (Fenichel, 1992, p.25). Through these activities, the child will be able to understand what is wrong and right as well as learn how to be social with other people.

Parenting Activities That Enhance the Social and Emotional Development of Babies

Some of the activities that parents can take part to ensure their babies have proper emotional and social development are:

Eye contact

It is important to maintain eye contact when speaking with your child. Eye contact informs the child that the parent is present and is interested in talking and listening to him/her. This will help in the child’s social skills as he/she will learn the importance of eye contact while talking to other people. The child will also gain self-confidence with time as he grows.

Eye contact is also one of the first steps of bonding between parents and their children (Neiman and Savage, 1997, p.220). While talking to the child, it’s best to smile too.

Hanging a Mobile with High Contrast Colors

Hanging a mobile with high contrast colors on their cribs will help them be calm and sleep better. Parents can also add a toy for them to sleep while holding it. This will make the child feel secure even in your absence.

Response to Emotions

When an infant cries, the parent’s response should be by picking and soothing them as soon as possible (Escalona, 1982, p. 674). This will make the child feel supported and safe.

Response to the Child’s Talking

Even though the child may not be able to speak well for a few couple of months, respond to the noises they make as if talking and speak back while giving them eye contact always. This will give the child confidence that whatever they are saying is important and encouragement to continue speaking. It is also advisable that you nod and respond through facial impressions.

Outside Environment

It’s important to take your children outside when the weather is favorable and show them the different things in their environment such as flowers, trees and also people. Show them how to greet people and soon enough they will be familiar with their environment and the things that surround them.

Other Children

At a tender age, it is important that you teach the children on ways to interact with others by taking them to the park or introducing them to the other children. Let them play with others even if all they can do is to crawl. This will help them learn to socialize with others.

Separation Anxiety

The children will develop anxiety in the first few months especially when they do not see their parents around (Neiman and Savage, 1997, p. 219). This anxiety can be reduced. For instance, a parent going outside the door and peeping lets a child know that he/she is near. You can also tell them that you’re leaving for a few minutes. This will help the infant know that even when you are away from his/her sight, you are still near.


Playing and making a child laugh is a crucial part of his/her development (Fenichel, 1992, p.16). One way to do this is by making funny faces to them or wearing a funny cloth on the head. This makes the child develop trust and will be very excited to see you. A parent can also dance with the child by putting him/her securely on the chest and dance slowly to the tune of the beat.

Exposure to Texture

One way you can do this is by exposing your child to different textures such as linen of different materials. This will give the child an idea on how objects differ.

Make a Toy Box

You can fill a box with different toy materials and let the child explore (Fenichel, 1992, p. 26). They will end up removing all the toys from the box out of curiosity and notice the difference in the toys.

Cause and Effect

You can teach the child the cause and effect principle by doing activities such as helping the child build a tower with sand or blocks and then knocking the tower down for the child to begin building again. The infant will start learning various life principles especially persistence. Noisy toys can also be a great way for the child to learn cause and effect as the child bangs them and will notice different sounds being produced.

Appreciation and Disciplining

Appreciating children when they perform small tasks will give them confidence to keep on doing them (Neiman and Savage, 1997, p. 224). You can appreciate them by applauding or making happy facial expressions. This will help them know that you are pleased with what they are doing. The same can be done when it comes to disciplining them for wrong doing. You can correct the child by letting them know that whatever they are doing is wrong. Make sure that you are giving them eye contact so that they can notice a different facial expression. Your facial expression will also tell the child that you are not pleased and hence will know what is right or wrong over time in their development.


Buy a child some painting and drawing materials for them to play along with (Escalona, 1982, p. 675). Even though the child cannot technically draw, it will help them mentally develop as they will learn the different colors they are using. Besides, you can draw along with the child so that they can admire what you are drawing and try to do the same. Make sure to applaud them for any sort of drawing they draw in order to encourage them to continue.

Building Trust

Trust can also be built on a child by simple activities such as breastfeeding, giving them a bath, playing with them and changing their diapers. This makes them be familiar with you from a tender age and associate you with love and care.


You can let the child lie on the stomach and simply use a noisy toy to get his/her attention. Simply shake the toy and the child will automatically look at you or even crawl towards you. This will increase the child’s awareness of their surrounding through the different noises in the environment (Fenichel, 1992, p.30)

Reading and Writing

Buy children fairytale books that contain lots of pictures and narrate them to the child. Try to explain what the pictures represent and make the reading as fun as possible. Make sure the books have bright and high contrast colors since they are more attracted to them. This will help in the mental growth of the child from a tender age.

Rhythm and Language Patterns

Singing children songs to the child will go a long way in helping them learn rhythms and language patterns (Escalona, 1982, p. 673). You can involve them by clapping your hands and showing them how to imitate while you sing.

Properties of Mixtures and Textures

As a parent or care giver, you can arrange supervised play with materials that are messy such as water, mud, plasticine, and sand. This will help the child to learn about the properties and physics of textures, liquids and solids by how they feel to their skin.


In conclusion, this report shows that the emotional and social development of babies, is greatly enhanced by the parents or caregivers activities. They should be involved at all times with the baby because they are the first person the child recognizes and starts to emulate. The activities discussed above will help the child develop in all manner of ways by learning to recognize their environment. For this activities to be even more effective, the presence of both parents can help them learn the different ways each parent responds. One important thing to note is that children learn as they play and experience their environment.


Escalona, S.K., 1982. Babies at double hazard: early development of infants at biologic and social risk. Pediatrics, 70(5), pp. 670-676.

Fenichel, E., 1992. Learning through Supervision and Mentorship to Support the Development of Infants, Toddlers and Their Families: A Source Book. Zero to Three/National Center for Clinical Infant Programs, 2000 14th Street North, Suide 380, Arlington, VA 22201-2500, pp. 15-28

Neiman, G.S. and Savage, H.E., 1997. Development of infants and toddlers with clefts from birth to three years of age. The Cleft palate-craniofacial journal, 34(3), pp. 218-225.

April 26, 2023

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