Health Blog

Is Your Baby Social?

Parents and caregivers focus a great deal on a child’s health. Children go to regular doctor’s appointments, Women Infants and Children (WIC) teaches about healthy nutrition, and extra care is taken when there are sniffles and sneezes. Sometimes social-emotional health is overlooked, but adequate social-emotional development will help a child to live a healthy and happy life. You might be wondering what social-emotional means; it’s about how your child interacts with the world around him/her, and how he/she manages and controls emotions. Good social-emotional development leads to success with friends as well as adjusting well to changes and challenges. Children with good social-emotional skills can focus more effectively in school, have fewer behavior problems and bounce back from difficult encounters. In short, these skills are very important!

How can you help your child develop these crucial skills?

  • Physical touch: This starts at birth with skin to skin contact and continues throughout childhood with hugs and positive physical touch.
  • Communication: Talk to your child at their level and listen to them– reading is also a great activity.
  • Realistic expectations: Familiarize yourself with developmental steps for your child’s age. You can sign up for free developmental questionnaires for your child from birth to age 5 here.
  • Be a good role model: Your child learns from you; show them how to handle frustration, how to listen and how to share.
  • Positive discipline: Set your child up for success. For example, don’t yell at your baby for putting something dangerous in their mouth; you know your baby will put everything in their mouth, so keep the dangerous items out of reach! Set good boundaries for your child and be consistent in enforcing those boundaries.

This is a very short list of activities to get you started! Find more information on social-emotional health below:

Michelle Fitzgerald, LMSW
Maternal Infant Health Program Social Worker
Cherry Street Health Center