A relationship with your child is the heart of healthy child development.


Building a positive relationship with your child will help you to understand what your child is experiencing and feeling. This will help them develop a healthy self-esteem, social skills and do well in school.

Tips for Positive Relationships

Sometime after 6 months, your child may continue to explore and at the same time may be afraid of being left alone.  It is important to help them feel secure and understand their feelings.

How to help your child feel secure:

  • Reassure and encourage them
  • Don’t rush them and don’t say things to put them down
  • Stay close by, hug them, make eye contact and let go gradually
  • Don’t force them to do anything they aren’t ready to do
  • Don’t sneak out or ignore their fear
  • Ensure child safety as they learn to explore

Your toddler is now learning to recognize feelings, both their feelings and yours. You can support your child’s emotional development by helping your child learn to express their feelings.

When Your Child Is Mad, Sad or Hurt

Try to understand how your child feels and comfort them. Give your child words to describe their feelings, for example, “you are feeling sad”. This will help your child understand their emotions and make them feel supported and loved.

When Your Child Is Afraid

Talk about the feelings that are behind your child’s actions. For example, instead of saying “that’s a big dog” say “did that doggie scare you?”

To positively parent your child, it is important to understand your child’s temperament.

  • Temperament is a set of traits and in-born. Cannot be changed.
  • Can be influenced by the environment to some extent and it is not a result of the way your child is parented.
  • A good fit between your temperament and your child’s temperament and the way you parent is when your expectations match your child’s temperament, abilities and characteristics.
  • Be accepting and responsive to the unique temperament and cues of your child.
  • Children do better and have less conflict with their parents if they are loved and accepted for their own temperament.
  • Temperament: What makes your child tick provides more information on temperament traits.

Fathering Makes a Difference

Being involved in the father role has many benefits.

Benefits for your child

  • Do better at school
  • Are happier
  • Are less stressed
  • Are less likely to get into trouble

Benefits for the mother role

  • Reduce a mother’s chance of having postpartum depression and anxiety
  • More likely to breastfeed as fathers are the biggest influence in a mother’s decision to breastfeed
  • Feel more competent when support and encouragement are provided

Benefits for the father role

  • Increased self-confidence
  • Better understanding of their child’s development and more reasonable expectations of what their child can and should be doing
  • Feel happier, less stressed and healthier

Join us at one of our Parenting programs. For more information on the role of fathers, see Dad Central Ontario.