baby-playing-with-kidsParents often talk about their babies while their baby is within earshot. The assumption is that the baby can’t understand what is being said. This can be a damaging assumption. Infants are very empathic and understand a great deal more than we may think. Their ability to talk or communicate with us is far more limited than their ability to understand us.

Babies develop an ability to read faces and body languages as early as five months of life. According to many experts, babies can start trying to manipulate parental behaviour when the baby is as young as six months old!

Before having a conversation with your spouse about how your nine month old was a terror that day, remember your baby probably understands at least a part of what is being said. It is better to have this kind of conversation when your child is asleep or out of earshot. Experts also recommend refraining from any labeling comments in front of your child, such as “he is a difficult baby.”

This labeling can occur with other people too. You may sometimes have strangers or friends make a comment about your child that you disagree with. However, do respond in a friendly way, but one that tells your child you don’t agree with labels for your child. For instance, when children were at a park, another mother pointed to him and said,”he looks like the shy one.” You should not want your baby to think you agreed with this assessment. You can say “All of our children can be shy at times and outgoing at other times.”

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