By Jeana Lee Tahnk
There is nothing quite like seeing two babies interact and check
out each other. Whether they stare at each other, pat each other down or
just drool together, these first encounters are baby's first step
toward making friends.
My first two kids had "insta-friends" thanks to daycare. Being
surrounded all day with other adorable droolers and playmates certainly
provided them with plenty of stimulation and socialization. We lucked
out because many of the friendships my kids formed in daycare are ones
they have to this day. I also have the same group of friends that I've
had since the first grade. Not to date myself but, wow, that was a long
Since baby No. 3 doesn't go to daycare, she doesn't have constant
access to that peer group, which is why I proactively pursue other
opportunities for her to meet other babies. Whether it's through playing
with other tots on the playground or attending baby classes for music
or gym, she gets socialized in other ways. And let's not forget the
undivided attention she gets from her big brother and sister.
The other day, my baby went to an open gym session for babies, where
there was another little girl about her age. The two of them were drawn
to each other, and it was clear that even babies have a sense of who
they can connect with. These two little girls spent about five minutes
sitting across from each other, exploring each other's hair and staring
at each other's faces. It was beyond adorable and a sure sign that she's
found a great friend for future play dates.
Babies also love being out and about. Since day one my baby has
loved being outside. There is so much to look at and explore, not to
mention the grass and sticks she tries to put in her mouth. Having that
outside stimulation and seeing who's swinging next to her in the bucket
swing at the playground can be another way to introduce new faces.
If you have friends with little kids, invite them over for play
dates and you'll see how much babies enjoy observing the habits of other
children. I am always looking for new babies to introduce my daughter
to, because even at eight months, you never know how long-lasting a new
friendship can be.
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