All in the context of relationships, family and community
Relationships between babies and caregivers are important for building strong brains. Starting from birth, responsive relationships build strong foundations for development through ‘serve-and-return’ interactions.
Serve and return works like a game of tennis between baby and caregiver. The baby “serves” by doing something to reach out to the person they are with—with eye contact, facial expressions, movement, babbling, or touch. A responsive caregiver will “return the serve” by talking back, acknowledging the baby, responding to the baby through their own movements or expressions, and sharing moments of pleasure.
This to-ing and fro-ing of interactions between baby and caregiver creates the building blocks of early brain development. This foundation helps children learn how to manage their emotions, cope with stress, and develop the core skills that they need to learn.
Parents can help babies to grow and thrive by providing lots of serve and return interactions.
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