Why smiling is good for your child
Smiles are the first building blocks of warm, loving and responsive relationships.
These relationships are fundamental to your baby’s development. Through these relationships, babies and children learn how to think, understand, communicate and show emotions. In fact, giving and receiving smiles are the first steps your child takes in learning how to be social and have good relationships.
Smiling at your baby is great for your early relationship with your baby. It helps you bond with your baby, and it helps your baby feel secure and safe.
Also, when your baby gets plenty of smiles, it tells your baby a lot about the world – that it’s a safe, secure place where people are happy and friendly and respond to your baby’s needs.
You probably can’t help smiling at your baby. And, of course, seeing your baby smile at you makes you feel good too!
Smiles are very important early positive experiences. Smiles teach your child a lot about themselves and their world, when they’re too young to understand words.
The science of a smile
Smiles and frowns are the first way your baby relates to you.
When you and your baby smile at each other, it releases chemicals in your bodies that make you both feel happy and safe. On the other hand, if a baby is feeling insecure or stressed, there’s an increase in the stress hormones in the baby’s body.
Different chemicals interact with a baby’s nervous system in different ways, and even play a role in how the brain grows and develops. For example, high levels of stress hormones can interfere with a baby’s learning and affect their overall development and wellbeing.
No smile is wasted
It’s worth remembering that a simple smile is one building block for your relationship with your baby. Your face is where your baby looks for reassuring, comforting responses and attention.
Not every single response you give is vital, but the more often you smile at your baby, the better. So whenever you see your baby watching your face, a smile is a great way to tell them you notice, appreciate, love and cherish them.