Emotional development in the first year of life.. the environment where babies grow can influence; if it is enriching or if it is stressful

Emotional development in the first year of life:

Emotional development is different for each baby; it depends on the evolution of areas such as cognition and language.
Also, the environment where babies grow can influence; if it is enriching or if it is stressful.

Stressful environments alter emotional well-being, while enriching environments facilitate the acquisition of emotional skills.

One of the most important aspects is the relationship of babies with their parents and caregivers . Through interaction, the identification and expression of emotions is promoted as babies grow.

Emotional development from zero to six months:

During the first six months, babies express emotions based on how they feel at the time. The emotions are simple: pleasure and disgust .

When babies are happy they wave their arms and take deep breaths, they also smile and babble.

Conversely, when babies are upset, they cry or fuss. Babies reflect their mood on their faces; moving mouth, eyebrows and forehead depending on what they feel.

By the third month, babies are smiling, showing pleasure in response to their caregivers.
At four months the displays of emotion intensify; they learn to react to the actions of their caregivers.
For example, if you tickle them, laugh, or stop playing with them, they cry.

Around six months, babies change moods more frequently.
Babies can go from pleasure to disgust from one minute to the next.
This is normal, as they are learning to know their emotions .

Emotional development during the seventh and eighth month:

At seven months there is an important change in cognitive development.

Babies understand that they are separated from their caregivers; that is, they are independent beings.

This leads to a new emotion: fear. Babies may express fear in the presence of strangers , or when away from their caregivers.

Another new emotion also emerges: anger.
Before this age, babies experience disgust, without any meaning behind it.

Now, they understand cause and effect, they realize that anger can be useful.
If their caregivers don't hand them a toy, the babies get angry, getting them to hand it to them.

Also, the social reference appears, babies acquire the ability to recognize the emotions of others and react to them.

If they see something on the floor, they will first look at their caretaker to determine from their expression if it is okay to touch it.

At this time, it is very common for babies to start laughing if they see their parents or caregivers laughing.

Emotional development from nine to twelve months:

From nine to eleven months, babies' awareness and ability to express emotions increases. Babies become sensitive to the approval and disapproval of others.

They start to feel guilty when they are scolded for doing something they shouldn't.

Separation anxiety can intensify and linger for months to come. Anxiety occurs from the fear of being away from their caregivers. It is normal and goes away as babies learn that caregivers return.

At 12 months, a new phase is entered; Babies learn to put words to what they feel.

How to support the emotional development of babies:

  • Emotional evolution depends on cognitive development, the temperament of babies and direct experiences. This last area is where parents and caregivers play an important role.
  • One of the primary tasks is to develop a healthy bond with babies; this allows them to feel safe and loved.
  • Responding to infants ' cues and attempts at interaction is critical; babbling, grimacing, crying, complaints, among others.
  • Also, it is recommended  to talk to babies about emotions and feelings, even from a very young age.
  • Caregivers can tell babies how they feel and why.
  • They can help themselves by exaggerating the facial expressions a little and mentioning the emotion.