Attachment and socialization begin at a child’s birth and continue throughout his or her life. A child’s social development and ability to build and maintain relationships is directly affected by how his or her family members and caregivers interact with and foster positive, meaningful experiences for him or her.
A child’s ability to build strong relationships with others develops from the strength of the relationships that are initially forged and nurtured between the child and his or her parents and caregivers. Attachments that begin soon after birth between babies and their mothers can evolve into loving relationships that include fathers, siblings and other caregivers and loved ones as the child grows. Over time, these experiences help teach children how to become good friends and how to get along with others in a process known as “socialization.” This process begins when you start talking to and playing with your child when he or she is a baby. Eventually, your child will learn to love you as you spend time with her and learn how to respond to her needs. This solid foundation will enable her to play well and make and keep good friends as she gets older.
Bonds between babies and their parents and other adult caregivers are based on shared experiences. Creating a wide variety of ways for a baby to interact with the adults who care for him or her is important to forging strong ties between them. Babies who are frequently held gently and smiled at by the adults who regularly care for them tend to form strong, loving bonds with these adults. As these babies grow into infants and toddlers, these adults also need to play and speak with them regularly if they are to grow into older children and adults who are able to make and maintain strong friendships.