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Social Activities for Young Infants in Child Care Centers

by
author image Erica Loop
Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.
Social Activities for Young Infants in Child Care Centers
Your baby is developing social skills in day care. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

As your infant begins to sit up and gain more mobility, she is ready to start exploring the people and places that surround her, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics's Healthy Children website. Taking your baby's social development into the child care arena means that she can try an array of activities that build these skills.

Facial Basics

While older toddlers and preschoolers might engage in the more elaborate kinds of social activities in day care, infants aren't quite ready for those types of group play settings. Although you won't find your infant participating in group pretend play, he can get a grip on social basics such as responding to facial expressions. The National Network for Child Care notes that during the beginning half of the first year, infants are beginning to smile in response to another person's, or caregiver's, facial expression. Your little one's child care provider can play on this and try a basic facial activity that includes smiling back and forth with each other. This might seem simple, but it will help your infant engage socially with others and understand that a pleasant smile gets another pleasant smile in return.

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Social Sound Mimic

Although your infant most likely isn't ready to talk up a storm, she is making noises that allow her to interact socially with those around her. By month four, according to the child development experts at the Healthy Children website, your little one will begin to make purposeful babbling sounds. Her child care teacher can reinforce her developing social communication skills when she is away from you by sound mimicking activities. During this type of activity, the teacher can respond to your infant's babbles with similar sounds. The professionals at the Children and Families Department at the University of Nevada-Reno suggest going back and forth in a simple sound game in which the caregiver repeats the infant's sounds and waits for the infant to "talk back."

Tummy Time

Tummy time is an ideal way, according to the Mayo Clinic, for your infant to develop neck, head and shoulder strength. That said, it is also a way to get your little one more socially active. Your infant's day care teacher can put him on his stomach, allowing him to look up and explore the world around him. During day care play, his teacher might place him on his tummy near other babies. Although the class of infants aren't ready to get totally interactive, they can view each other in a new way from the tummy time position.

Talk and Walk

Your infant's child care teacher can introduce her to the social scene of the baby room during a talk and walk activity. Your child's teacher can pick her up, giving her a warm social smile, and talk to her as they cruise around the room. The teacher will point out various objects and other people, communicating with each new person that she sees. For example, as the teacher carries your infant around the room, she can verbally point out other kids and staff members in the room adding brief statements such as, "Let's say 'Hi' to Miss Patti" or "There's Donny playing with the rattle."

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