Observe the infant in face-to-face interaction with the adult and another unfamiliar adult. Observe the infant when no one is interacting with him.
Have the unfamiliar adult approach the infant and begin to smile and talk to her. Then have the familiar adult smile and talk to the infant. After a minute of back-and-forth communication, the familiar adult stops talking to the infant and just stares at her.
The infant shows more physical excitement and vocalizes more to the familiar adult than the unfamiliar adult. When the familiar adult stops smiling and shows no expression, the infant tries to get the familiar adult to smile and interact. When the infant’s efforts fail to make the adult interact, he vocalizes with displeasure.
Encourage early childhood educators and parents to read the infant’s cues and respond immediately. Facial expressions and vocal intonation reveal the infant’s emotions. The child may also turn away when he is overwhelmed by too much stimulation. Adults should respond by giving the child a short break before trying to engage him again.
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015
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