When engaging in back-and-forth activities, notice baby’s changing needs as the interaction progresses. In order to maintain a mutually rewarding interaction with baby, you will need to adapt to the changing situation with baby.
Tickling is a great example. Try to be in tune with baby’s enjoyment of being tickled. What can begin as a hilarious way to entertain baby and yourself can quickly become intrusive if baby grows overstimulated by the activity.
Bring on the positive
So, you didn’t get any sleep for the third night in a row. Your left eye is twitching and the coffee is still brewing. Baby is demanding a second breakfast because the oats and banana you painstakingly crafted is on the floor.
But before you blow a gasket, fake it ‘til you make it! Take a deep breath, smile, and address baby with a positive attitude. Expressing positive emotions to baby instills confidence that you are happy taking care of their needs and will always be around to do so.
Offer a variety of stimulation
Stimulate baby using the “ABC’s” of child development.
A is for affect
Elicit positive affect with giggle-inducing activities such as bear hugs, blowing raspberries, or making silly sounds.
B is for behaviour
Stimulate baby’s behaviour with physical activities such as splish-splashing in the pool or tub, or running amok at the playground.
C is for cognition
Challenge baby’s cognition with thinking activities, such as reading a book, experimenting with sidewalk chalk, or singing a round of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”
Just remember to pay attention to baby’s cues. Don’t force your little one to participate if they aren’t feeling up to the task. If the playground swing is a little too daunting, try the slide instead. If little one isn’t in the mood to linger in the bathtub, bring on story time.
Provide emotional support
Be attentive to baby’s emotions and support his efforts to express himself. If he is trying to communicate his feelings (typically through laughing, screaming or crying), don’t downplay their feelings. Let baby know that you understand why he feels that way.
For instance, if baby takes a spill, wait for baby’s emotional reaction and respond accordingly. If little one is really upset, don’t hold back the hugs, cuddles and sympathy that will help your tot to bounce back.
Most importantly, provide a secure base from which your tiny tot feels safe to explore. If baby looks cautious before joining friends at a playdate, make it known that you are nearby and it’s okay to boogie down with those buddies!
Know it’s a lifelong process
Just remember, maintaining secure attachment between you and your child is a lifelong process that doesn’t end when your little one outgrows teddy bears and training wheels. Here’s to hoping for many blissful shared moments between you and your little love!
Resource: Secure Attachment