As the little guys in this brief video demonstrate, there is nothing more intriguing to babies than other babies. Infants learn a great deal from each other, especially when allowed to engage spontaneously — to play and socialize their way. Yet free play between infants is routinely discouraged and interrupted because it doesn’t look “nice” or “polite” to an adult’s eye. If we could enter our baby’s world, however, those judgments would likely disappear.
Watch these babies observe and imitate each another, engaging momentarily and then separating again. See how, at the end of the video, the boy seems to be trying to hold his new friends attention, get the party started. Note how unconcerned these children are when they don’t get the play object they seem to want, even when it is taken from their hands. Left to their own devices, they usually amaze us by working things out better than we ever could.
This is the way babies choose to play together, and when we allow them this freedom, they are thoroughly entertained, enriched, stimulated and inspired by each other’s company.
Social “baby steps” like these are made possible by…
Safe, enclosed play spaces and safe, simple, lightweight toys so that the babies can explore freely and the adults are able to relax, observe and enjoy them rather than worry or interrupt because of safety issues.
The close observation of a nearby adult, who intervenes only when necessary, provides boundaries for physical safety between the children and lends emotional support.
Parents and caregivers who support and cultivate the joyful habit of self-directed play by providing plenty of opportunity for play each day.
A familiar environment with consistent expectations
The emotional security we provide by giving undivided, one-on-one attention during care-giving activities, i.e., feeding, diapering, bathing, and bedtime rituals
Parents and caregivers who trust infants to be social self-learners
Note: Since the initial interactions between these boys (captured in the video), they continue to be drawn to each other in class every week. I’m looking forward to sharing a Baby Buddy Movie sequel soon!
Please share your impressions…