As an infant caregiver, it is important to know what to look for when observing babies. Choose a time for your observation when the baby is well-fed and all of his basic needs have been met. Attempting to observe a sleepy or hungry baby is a recipe for disaster.
When you are sure the infant has been fed and is not sleepy, find a quiet spot on the floor to sit with the baby. Lie the baby down on his back on a soft blanket. Lie down on the floor near him and speak quietly. When the baby hears your voice, he will turn his head. Use a higher pitched voice and praise the child for finding you. "Hi little Max! You heard my voice, didn't you?" Give the baby a chance to respond by cooing or smiling, engaging in a conversation with him. Speak softly so as not to startle or alarm the baby. Take your cues from him. When he begins to get frustrated by this game, try introducing a toy or changing his position.
Write down your observations of your play together. Take care not to include any teacher bias when observing infants. Make note of the child's facial expressions as well as how long the infant was engaged in the play. Note any signs of distress or over-stimulation and be sure to document those as well.
Use your observations to plan activities for the infants in your care. If you are working in a primary caregiving environment, make note of which caregivers each infant prefers. Allow that caregiver to interact with that particular child whenever possible. Doing so will promote a sense of attachment and continuity of care.
Observe infants for these stages of newborn social skills and note any anomalies or concerns. Keep in mind that all children develop on their own schedule, but be sure to mention any concerns you may have to parents.