How do children learn socialization?

Socialization develops gradually, in sequential stages. Readers will recall me noting that, not surprisingly, our social lives begin in infancy. Learning to socialize involves many cognitive skills which develop through the “right stimulation occurring at the right time.” As humans, we’re hardwired to respond to our young in a manner that’s conducive to their developmental stage. What begins as gentle “coo’s” with a newborn soon becomes “peekaboo” in which the social “dance” is in full swing. Young infants only months old are able to remain engaged in a delicate back-and-forth, and are able to “send and receive” social cues which demonstrate impressive capacity.

To see a fantastic video example, watch here:

Related: ASD Help: Learning The Social Dance

The simple, yet complex game of peekaboo is much more than simple turn taking. It’s more of a “process” in which each action is linked to the previous one. Think back to a time when you’ve experienced the glee of being surprised by a youngster, or mounted your own “sneak attack” on your own child…or a friend’s! If peekaboo amounted to mere turn taking, it would be unlikely that a single, unexpected pause could build anticipation that would end in an eruption of joyful giggling. 

Believe it or not, peekaboo is much like a conversation, and marks a child’s ability to be an active, social participant!

In my next blog entry – what skills are required for peekaboo and how you can enable your child’s social growth!

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