The secret to a happy baby (it’s you!)
You are really, really important to your child.
You see it in the way your baby gazes at you, prefers you over others and cries when you leave. We know we’re important in our child’s life but do we truly understand this?
And here’s the great news, there’s room for mistakes along the way! Parents and children can create and maintain strong attachment which leads to emotional health even when everything’s not perfect in the day to day.
One of the main things I wanted to do with this little girl was teach her to communicate with us. You see, she had tried that before, crying to communicate her needs. But because no one responded, even at such a young age she had the innate wisdom to know that she shouldn’t waste her energy crying if no one was going to come. She had learned not to trust her world. *Spoiler alert: this story has a happy ending!
Nearly a year later after all the necessary processes were complete, she was reunited with her birth mother, grandmother and siblings. It’s one of those foster child stories that turned out well. She got what every child wants and needs – safety and security. She’s healthy and thriving now, plugged into family, friends and school.
When we respond to a baby’s cues – their little noises, gestures, gazes and cries, we create a sense of trust. Trust, which develops when a baby feels safe, secure and cared for, is the foundation for attachment, which informs every relationship we have from our first year of life through adulthood. It’s certainly the basis of the relationship that you as a parent will have with your child for the rest of your life.
Here are the benefits of secure attachment*:
- Higher self-esteem
- Better emotional regulation
- Greater academic success
- Better coping in times of stress
- More positive engagement with preschool peers
- Closer friendships in middle childhood
- More effective social interaction in adolescence
- Happier and better relationships with parents
- Stronger leadership qualities
- A greater sense of self
- More trusting, non-hostile romantic relationships in adulthood
- More empathy
- Greater social competence overall
- Greater trust in life
*from The Power of Showing Up, by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson
Learning to parent well is a process, and no matter how old your children, you’re always learning. Here at Nurtured Noggins, we’re behind you. And remember, YOU are exactly the parent that your child needs. 😍