In the book ' Bright from the Start ' focus is placed on the communication between parent and infant. Parents communicate and collaborate with infants by tuning into their non-verbal language , being observant and attendant to their facial expressions, body language and tone of their voice.
The baby in turn is picking up and observing his mother's body language, the way she holds him , the tone of her voice and attention she displays.
Dan Siegal calls these interactions , the dance of ' tuning in' , where the mother and baby respond and adjust to each other . This creates a ' circle of communication ' where the child and mom match the emotional connection equally.
Ross Greene sees the child and mom , not using words but still communicating and problem solving in a collaborative way -
The outcome of this dance is a love relationship , secure attachment and brain growth. Brain science has a new appreciation of neuroplasticity , that the brain grows and changes from these ' thinking' and ' attachment- based ' interactions. neuroplasticity
In an experiment called - the still face experiment
mothers were instructed to sit face to face to their babies, be connected and attuned to the babies' cues, be responsive – I see you , I feel you and then switch off their responses and give the baby the silent treatment.
Babies aged 3,6 and 9 months participated in this experiment. The results of the experiment show how important the ' dyadic ' communication is to the child's development.
The traditional view explains the parent- baby dynamic as the baby being aroused by the various stimuli , making noises , faces and hand movements with the mother being in control ,making adjustments.
An alternative view which is supported by the still face experiment sees the baby as an active partner , initiating conversation and taking steps to solve problems.
Here are some non-verbal cues that can guide our interactions
Turn head away – ' I am tired of playing now, leave me alone '
Smacks lips -' I am getting hungry '
Coos- ' I hear you talking and I am talking back , say something else mom'
A shift from a latched- on eye contact to a look of concern and an overflow of body movements - I am feeling anxious and concerned , something is happening , … … what's going on ?
Freeze mode – awake but not moving hands or legs at all , eyes shifting - I am really afraid and confused