A key to creating harmonious families and a more peaceful world lies in learning how to interact and coexist with one another respectfully. Children don’t learn about this when they begin to walk or when they go to nursery school. They learn about respect at the very beginning of their lives through their interactions with the adults who care for them.
Using words to mirror your child’s emotional state back to him lets him know that he has been seen and understood, and can provide comfort to him.
Let your baby decide if he wants to play (perhaps he’d prefer to lie on his back and watch the dust particles in the sunlight), when to play, what object to play with, what he’d like to do with it, and for how long. Giving your baby time for uninterrupted play every day helps to preserve a long attention span that many babies are born with. It also helps to promote concentration, self-reliance, and problem-solving skills.
Authenticity means the genuineness or truth of something. Allowing your baby to be his authentic self requires letting go of preconceived ideas, sitting back to observe and truly see him in the moment, and not assuming he will respond in the way he did yesterday. When you come to your baby with wonder and curiosity, he will often surprise you, and your understanding of him will deepen.
We demonstrate self-respect by taking care of our own needs so that we can more easily and happily care for our baby. By taking care of our own needs, without guilt, we are setting a good example that our needs and our baby’s needs are both important.
When babies are given the opportunity to explore and experiment independently, they discover their own inner resources and what interests them.
…observing is very different from looking and watching. It requires you to quiet yourself, pause, be patient, and try to see your baby as if for the first time. This takes practice because we often see only what we expect to see. By quietly observing your baby— in his crib, in your arms, or while he’s playing on the floor— you will get to know him better and appreciate all that he’s doing with much more detail.
Caregiving times are not just about accomplishing a particular task like diapering, bathing, or feeding. They are intimate, relationship-building opportunities that can be pleasurable for both of you. They are activities that you do with your baby rather than to or for your baby.
It is not necessary or wise to punish, chastise, or use time-outs with a baby or toddler who repeatedly tests the limit.
Do your best never to hurry with your baby. Instead, move slowly. This will help to create a sense of calm and peacefulness. It will give your baby the opportunity to follow what is happening and participate when he is able.
Attachment or attachment theory refers to the developing connection between a baby and the significant other who cares for him— most often his mother or father. The nature of the attachment relationship is largely formed by the sensitive responsiveness of the parent to the baby and the overall quality of the baby-parent interactions. In secure attachment, the parent helps the baby learn to self-soothe and also encourages and takes pleasure in the baby’s independent exploration.
You and your baby will convey a lot to each other nonverbally— through your eyes, your touch, your body language and gestures.