Babies are born with an innate drive to explore their environment through sight, sound, touch, and taste.
This is perfectly normal behavior for babies of all ages. Babies think, learn and grow by using all their senses. Senses help babies discover the world around them. As babies develop, they will gradually extend their ability to use these senses. This development allows babies to gain new skills and skills through exploring what they can see, hear, touch, feel and even taste.
There are many reasons why babies stare; here are some possible reasons for this expected behavior:
1) they’re curious about you
Babies love looking at faces – especially yours! Their favorite pastime is staring into your eyes (and maybe even your soul!)
Many babies find faces fascinating, and babies don’t get bored of looking at them! They will often stare into their parents’ eyes for long periods, and babies tend to look at faces more than anything else. This is because babies love discovering new things about those they love, especially those who care for them, such as their parents.
2) They’re working out the finer points
What? Where? When? These are all questions babies need answers to as they explore their world, and babies use everything they see as part of their learning process. Every moment spent observing helps babies learn something new about themselves and others around them. From a very early age, babies witness the differences between familiar people’s faces and those that belong to strangers (and babies love studying strangers!)
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3) They’re trying to work out what you want
Babies know that adults are significant, capable people, and babies will often watch their parents intently to find out what they are doing so they can copy them. They also use managing to work out how their actions impact others around them – babies understand cause and effect by observing this. For example, babies realize that if they cry, then Mum or Dad come over quickly to check on them meaning babies learn that crying is an effective way of getting your attention.
4) They’re learning about the world around them
Babies begin looking at the world above them from early on, especially when lying down on their backs, allowing for lots of “sky- gazing.” They will also observe the world they can see when resting on their tummies. As babies grow and become more independent, babies begin to explore sounds coming from around them; even if they are out of sight babies have already learned that these new sources are things they need to investigate by using their senses.
5) They’re learning about language
Babies may not understand words yet, but babies absorb all sorts of language through listening to the conversations around them – especially those directed at them! It takes time for babies’ brains to tune into language, so babies may frequently “zone out” or stare off into space as it’s effortless for babies to listen than understand. For some, this starting will continue during their first year as babies learn the basics of communication from those around them.
6) they’re learning about social interactions
By watching others, babies can pick up the subtle nuances that communicate what is expected during social interaction. Whether it be eye contact or appropriate responses, babies “tune into” these skills as part of their everyday learning process, even babies who are just six months old can take part in basic turn-taking, which helps babies realize how much they need other people to share experiences and increase their knowledge base.
7) They’re fascinated with faces
As babies stare at parents’ faces, they feel comforted by this close bond, enabling them to relax and soothe themselves when feeling tired, stressed, or simply sleepy. As babies get older, they begin to realize that the face staring back at them is their own, which can be incredibly interesting.
8) They’re learning about other babies
Babies are always looking out for others – this means babies are more likely to stare at babies than adults. This is another reason babies love hanging out in baby groups. There’s plenty of babies around to look at, and babies learn about themselves by comparing themselves with others around them. The more time babies spend living among others, the better they understand how others feel, what they think about things, and how babies fit into this world.
9) they’re tuning in, not out.
Babies are very busy learning all sorts of excellent skills, so when you find your baby staring off into space, it just means babies are “tuning out” everything other than what babies are focussing on. This could be the activity babies are engaging in. For example, if babies are writing all over paper with pens or crayons.
10) they’re not ignoring you.
It might feel a bit like your baby is ignoring you when babies stare at another person, but actually, babies want to engage with the person staring back at them. They’ll do this by copying what they see – yes, babies know how to copy facial expressions from an early age! It’s worth noting that once babies have figured out how to “read” others’ facial expressions, babies can form a bond across social and cultural boundaries, making babies more open-minded and accepting of new people and ideas.
Babies spend most of their time learning about the world around them by using all their senses: seeing what happens when they kick a toy with their feet; listening to mum speak; feeling textures against their skin; tasting different foods, etc. – but we still don’t know precisely how to mirror self-recognition develops in babies and small children (although we do know babies and young children can’t recognize themselves in a mirror until they’re about 18 months old).
Many babies will get their first experiences of self-recognition from the mirror by playing games with their reflection – babies seem to love making faces at themselves or posing for the camera. People often think that babies learn to recognize themselves through these kinds of interactions, but actually, babies might just be showing off to their parents.