Babies faces’ seem unable to hide their mood. If they do not like certain purees or foods, they make a face that clearly shows their disgust. As soon as they are frightened or worried, the look of fear is obvious on their little faces. From birth, babies are programmed to interact with others, and as an adult, you must be receptive to their signals, even if it is just the slightest facial expression, and answer them.
Parents can listen with their eyes as well as with their ears: just be attentive. Your child’s face can be a barometer of how they feel. If you pay close attention, you will be surprised that your little one is actually communicating with you. Their non-verbal language comes as much from their heart and soul as from their intellect.
No intelligence without links!
Shared laughter plays a big role in the child’s need for affection. As several studies have shown, the intellectual development of a child is very strongly linked to their emotional development and the climate in their environment: this serves as a basis for their intelligence. By feeling included in a reassuring relationship, they will find the confidence to discover the world and their understanding. Thus, the early interactions that start with a smile are part of the preverbal communications that are the prerequisite for any form of learning your child will do.
Innate smile: reflex or emotion?
We can not hide it, babies are born with an innate desire to communicate and interact with other humans, well before they give us the gift of a conscious smile. Indeed, by their look and their facial expressions, they attract and capture our attention. The first baby smile, the real one; directed and conscious, is often considered as the first gesture that makes your child a social being in their own right. This smile is often also the initiating gesture of communication with Dad, who finally sees a potential for exchange and conscious communication with the baby.
A smile is an innate behaviour, not something that has to be learned. According to Desmond Morris, author of "Babywatching" (Crown), smiles are a part of an instinctive mechanism of survival in the newborn human being, ensuring the safety of their loved ones since a smile would automatically please adults.
It is from our reactions and our responses to their giggles, their smiles and their grimaces that baby associates something pleasant with our smile. When we smile at our child, the majority of child psychiatrists believe that we are weaving essential links of proximity. Emotions are used to communicate and bind people together.
The smile is not only communicative and authentic, but it conveys a sensation of well-being and allows to secrete endorphins that flood the cortex of a sweet euphoria.
Did you know that…
- When a baby smiles in their sleep, it is sad that baby smiles “to the angels”. It is a smile out of reflex for physical well-being, and not intentional.
- The social smile, when the baby really responds to your smile and their eyes crease, usually appears around the age of 2 months.
- The first bursts of baby laughter begin between 4 and 8 months.
- "Social" laughter does not appear until 10-12 months.