A Special Relationship
We’ve told you in several posts about the importance of babies' social connection with parents. By the time a baby is 6-weeks-old, she is able to smile and makes noises at nearly everyone she sees. The smiles that she gets in return fill her with excitement and she is rewarded for exploring her world. Sometime around 3-months of age (and you all know that babies develop at their own pace), babies start to focus their efforts for connection on their special caregivers - mothers, fathers, and others who provide their care nearly every day. It is with these caregivers that babies achieve “synchrony.”
Moments of Attunement
Technically, synchrony is described as “a coordinated interaction between caregiver and infant, who respond to each other with split-second timing.” (Berger, 2003) When we use our faces to reflect our babies’ joy, surprise, concern, or sadness, they see and feel the connection between facial expressions and emotions. When we talk to them about what we see (“did the balloon surprise you?), we help them connect their feelings with words. Our instincts will tell us to exaggerate our expressions as we help our babies learn about emotions and our instincts are right! Babies respond better when we make our responses a little bigger than what we see.
The Magic of Play