They need more than Mom and Dad
While scientists usually focus on infant-parent relationships, broad studies have shown that it really does take a village. According to research presented in the journal Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development in 1995, children seem to do best when they have at least three adults who consistently send the message: Hey kid, I got you.
Researchers such as Sarah Hrdy, author of Mothers and Others (Belknap, 2009), theorize that spending time with non-parental caregivers – a grandparent, a daycare teacher, a family friend, a doting aunt – helps infants learn to read different facial expressions and expand their ability to take the perspectives of others.
Babies use adult mental processes for deciphering others' emotions by the time they are seven months old, research suggests.
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Robin Nixon is a former staff writer for Live Science. Robin graduated from Columbia University with a BA in Neuroscience and Behavior and pursued a PhD in Neural Science from New York University before shifting gears to travel and write. She worked in Indonesia, Cambodia, Jordan, Iraq and Sudan, for companies doing development work before returning to the U.S. and taking journalism classes at Harvard. She worked as a health and science journalist covering breakthroughs in neuroscience, medicine, and psychology for the lay public, and is the author of "Allergy-Free Kids; The Science-based Approach To Preventing Food Allergies," (Harper Collins, 2017). She will attend the Yale Writer’s Workshop in summer 2023.