Eagerly awaited by parents, baby's first smile remains etched in their memory. But at what age does a child really smile without imitating? Answers from Chantal Carraci Simon, specialized in developmental psychology.
' From the start of his birth, babies can smile . It's a reflex, unintentional smile, often due to a well-being . Baby feels good and his body reacts. For parents, it's a great time ', explains Chantal Caracci Simon, teacher-researcher in developmental psychology, parenting coach and trainer at the Edelweiss Institute.
' Between 1 and 3 months, neurologically, babies can smile at will. As a result, they smile at their parents in imitation. His parents look at him smiling and the baby responds by smiling in turn. These are the beginnings of communication, the beginning of 'yours, mine' exchanges, which will later become, with the arrival of language, turns of speech (speaker A takes the floor and leaves it to speaker B and vice versa ). The child learns a lot by imitation. It is an important learning medium for their social and emotional development. “, emphasizes Chantal Caracci Simon.
This is the characteristic smile of the newborn that he manifests especially during his sleep.
It is a little later that baby begins to really smile because he feels joy. ' Between 4 and 6 months, babies smile intentionally to communicate with those around them . Often this smile is accompanied by looking at the parents or at an object. It is essential for the parents to answer him because it shows that he has a big place in their life. This will allow him to trust them and develop his bond of attachment, that is to say that if necessary he can count on them. Around 6 months, parents can observe different smiles depending on their joy and satisfaction.' notes Chantal Caracci Simon.
It is even capital, as Chantal Caracci Simon points out. ' The smile has a primordial place in the life of a small child. It is the first exchanges he has with his parents that will create this solid and stable bond which will last all his life and which will help him to build himself. , she explains.
A baby who feels good often turns his eyes towards his parents and appreciates the moments of exchange with them when he takes his bottle in their arms or during feeding with milk for example. He speaks with the language proper to his age and smiles often. Later, it is by laughing that he expresses his contentment.
If baby is not smiling, watch for other behaviors that may diagnose a developmental disorder :
'Each baby progresses at their own pace. There is nothing to worry about. However If your child hasn't produced a smile yet, around 1 year old, talk to a healthcare professional,' advise Chantal Caracci Simon.
'It's around 4 months that the little child starts laughing at your facial expressions. ', explains Chantal Caracci Simon. He may also start laughing when you tickle him or make sounds he finds funny. At this stage of life, baby's laughter is mainly caused by stimulation related to the senses. Around 8 or 9 months, he laughs easily during the peekaboo game and, around 1 year, he laughs when his parents adopt funny postures. Around 2 and a half or 3 years old, it is the words that make him laugh and around 4 or 5 years old the different situations. Finally, it is around 6 or 7 years old that the child begins to understand word games and to have fun with them.Source journaldesfemmes.fr