It is important to build a good emotional attachment with your baby. By the end of the first year, your baby will have developed an attachment with their parent/caregivers who have spent time loving and caring for them.
Benefits of Attachment
Your baby will be able to:
- Develop positive relationships
- Feel confident and good about themselves
- Enjoy being with others
- Share their feelings
- Deal with stress
Tips on Building a Strong Attachment
From birth babies communicate their needs using a variety of sounds, facial expressions, and gestures. These are called “cues”. Be attentive to how and when your baby is showing different cues to communicate their needs with you.
|Examples of baby cues||What your baby may be telling you|
Video: Attachment/Relationships, Healthy Baby Healthy Brain
Once you understand your baby’s cues, it is important to respond consistently, especially when they are hurt, upset or ill. This will help:
- Meet your baby’s need
- Your baby build a close, emotional relationship with their parent/caregivers
Video: Still Face Experiment, Dr. Edward Tronick
Some children are shy, have low energy and are sensitive while some are outgoing, have lots of energy and are easy going. This is called temperament. You can’t change your child’s temperament, but you can help them make choices on how to behave.
It’s important to know your own temperament. You may have a very different temperament than your child which can be frustrating. Accept your child’s temperament and find ways to understand it.
- Give them time to warm up and adjust. Don’t push too fast
- Talk positively about new people and situations
- Provide them a lot of contact with you and others
- Make sure they get involved in social activities like play groups
- Allow them time to complete a task
- Be patient with their slower pace
- Set firm limits are as they are constantly exploring and may not always like limits
- Get extra help and breaks to keep up with their energy
- Introduce them to new people, toys and foods slowly
- Be patient as they may have sudden changes in mood and needs
- Offer choices and don’t force them
Help your baby to feel secure with separation anxiety. Your baby’s biggest fear is losing you starting at around the ages of 6-8 months old. This is called separation anxiety. It is a normal stage of development for infants and toddlers and usually gets better by the age of two. Your baby wants to explore but at the same time they may be afraid of being left on their own.
Follow these steps to help your baby feel secure when you leave:
- Tell your baby/child you are leaving and do not sneak out or lie about where you are going
- Reassure your baby/child that they will be safe and will have a good time while you are gone
- Tell your baby/child when they will be picked up and by whom
- Give them something to look forward to when you return like an extra story at bedtime
- Say good-bye briefly with a hug and avoid giving too much attention to your baby’s/child’s normal protests
- Greet your baby/child with love and joy when you return
Your temperament may be different than your baby’s temperament and you may have to adapt your behaviour to help your baby handle different situations.
Parenting groups are available. The Make the Connection program promotes positive relationship between parent and infants/toddlers.