Best Way to Understand Your Baby’s Social Development in the Second Year

During this second year, your toddler is inclined to see life with himself right at its centre. This egocentricity is essential to establishing the secure self-image that will eventually enable him to extend his consideration to other children and adults. Help him build on his self-image and become more sensitive to other people’s needs by ensuring that you meet his needs.

A lot of social development happens at home quite naturally within the context of family and friends. And when there are siblings, there will probably be less need for your intervention. It’s sometimes helpful to allow siblings to sort out their differences between themselves.

Baby’s Social Development Best Way to Understand Your Baby’s Social Development in the Second Year

This day-to-day social interaction with other children at home is not available to first-born or only children, and needs to be sought elsewhere. Initially, this will be through children of parental friends, visits to the park, and parent and toddler groups. In a group of children where most are older, some of the problems that arise between toddlers won’t come up, and this can be an easier environment in some ways to begin social acclimatization. However, he will begin to work out ways of interacting socially with his peer group when he reaches a pre-school environment next year.

Teaching your toddler to share

Alongside your toddler’s self-focus comes a strong streak of possessiveness, all of which makes social interaction a bit of a minefield amongst similar-aged children!

The concept of sharing is difficult for toddlers to grasp, so don’t expect them to be able to do it willingly at first. Remember that the ability to share comes from feeling secure inside. So, instead of focusing too closely on the issue of sharing, try the following: remove toys “for later” that are being squabbled over; ignore bad reactions as far as possible; and took out for opportunities to reward and reinforce occasions when one child willingly relinquishes a toy to another. It may not happen out of any inclination to share at first, but it gives you a chance to praise this sort of behaviour, and toddlers respond better to praise than to anger and irritation on your part.

Considering child care

Being looked after by someone other than a parent, or close family member, can be positively beneficial for your child once you have found the right person or facility. However, it is important to consider what your child’s needs are, and how best these can be met, bearing in mind that toddlers need lots of one-to-one attention, particularly to encourage language development.

There are several child care options to choose from. A nanny who comes to your home or a childminder who lives close by may be one option to explore. Interview any possible candidates thoroughly and check their references. Family members who live nearby may also be an option. You will need to find someone who is warm and attentive to your child, and has ideas and values similar to your own. Do not expect someone to care for your child exactly as you would: the relationship will inevitably be different.

Baby’s Social Development 1 Best Way to Understand Your Baby’s Social Development in the Second Year

A workplace creche or nursery may suit your requirements. Ask your local authority for a list of registered child care services. Visit several to gain an understanding of each one’s approach to child care, and ensure that the manager and staff are properly qualified.

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