daycare infant social development

How Daycare Fosters Infant Social Development

October 10, 2023
How Daycare Fosters Infant Social Development

There are a few forms of development that are very important for infants and young children, and social development is at or near the top of any such list for most parents. There are many ways of fostering and improving social development in your children, and one great resource for many infants and parents alike is the use of daycare programs.

At First Steps Childcare & Preschool, we're happy to offer caring child care services to Salt Lake City clients for several age ranges, from infant care up to toddler care, preschool and even kindergarten programs. In addition to receiving personalized, professional care, here are some of the direct social benefits that many infants receive from attending daycare early in their lives and being around other children of similar ages.

Fostering Two-Way Communication

While infants cannot speak actual words during their early months, most are able to engage in other forms of two-way communication by about three months of age. This includes making eye contact, smiling at others, and using hand gestures to express needs or wants.

In a daycare setting, infants are often surrounded by other children and caregivers who respond to these attempts at communication, helping the child develop stronger social skills. For instance, if an infant smiles at another child and that child smiles back, the first infant learns that their actions are being acknowledged.

Conquering Stranger Anxiety

For many infants, a major attachment period comes between six and eight months of age, when infants often begin to experience a strong fear or anxiety around strangers. While this is natural and normal, it can also be beneficial for infants to adjust to being around other adults besides their parents or immediate family members during this time.

Daycare is an ideal setting for this, as infants are exposed to multiple caregivers who can help them form new attachments and become more comfortable around adults they may not know as well. This also helps infants learn that the world is full of many different people, not just those in their immediate family - but does so in a nurturing, caring environment.

Grasping and Expressing Emotions

Another key area of social development for infants is the ability to grasp and express emotions. During their early months, infants often rely on facial expressions or other physical movements to convey emotions - but as they grow into toddlers, this becomes more nuanced and complex.

In a daycare setting, children are exposed to many different types of emotions from their peers and caregivers, providing them with important practice in identifying and expressing their own emotions in appropriate ways. This can lead to a more well-adjusted and emotionally intelligent child as they continue to grow and develop.

Early Problem-Solving

For many infants, daycare also serves as an early introduction to problem-solving skills. While they may not be able to fully articulate their thoughts or come up with solutions on their own, observing other children and caregivers in a group setting can help them learn these valuable skills through observation and imitation. This can lay the foundation for strong critical thinking and decision-making abilities later in life.

Exposure to Different Cultures

Even while they're at a stage where they themselves aren't actively speaking, infants are constantly learning and processing the world around them. This includes exposure to different cultures and backgrounds, which can help shape their understanding of diversity and acceptance at a young age.

In a daycare setting with children from various backgrounds, infants can gain valuable experience in interacting with people who may look or act differently than they do, promoting inclusivity and empathy. This also helps lay the groundwork for a more diverse and understanding society in the future.

Increasing Confidence

One of the largest benefits of social development in infants is the increase in confidence and independence that often comes with it. As they learn to interact with others and express themselves, infants become more confident in their abilities and are encouraged to explore and try new things. This can lead to a stronger sense of self-esteem and independence, setting a strong foundation for future success.

In summary, there are numerous benefits to social development in infants, and daycare can be a valuable tool in promoting this development. At First Steps Childcare & Preschool, we strive to provide a nurturing and supportive environment for all children under our care, helping them develop important social skills that will benefit them throughout their lives. Contact us today to learn about our quality SLC child care programs for infants all the way up to kindergarteners!

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