Making your child feel safe, loved and looked after will help develop your relationship, and it will also help your child thrive. The best thing you can do to help your baby develop into a healthy, happy child is to love them, and show it. A child’s brain develops fast in their first three years of life.
To help develop a loving relationship with your child:
Enjoy your baby; it's good for you both.
Cuddle, kiss, hug and gently stroke your baby to make them feel loved.
Talk and smile at them.
Even before they can talk, your baby loves hearing and seeing you.
Copy their sounds and gestures.
Tell them what you’re doing and feeling.
Respond to their needs as quickly as you can.
Children find it hard to wait, so when you respond in a loving way (such as comforting them as soon as they cry), they feel secure and may cry less.
Make time to spend with them regularly. Your child needs your attention and guidance.
We’re all affected by the way we were treated as a child. You can decide to make different parenting choices. It can also help to discuss your experiences with your partner or support people. Their childhood will have been different, so their way of parenting will also be different.
If your family didn’t meet your needs when you were little, you may find it harder to care for your own child. But no matter what your own experiences were, you can choose how you respond to your child.
You don’t have to repeat what happened to you. It may help to think to ask yourself:
What do you want them to remember from their childhood?
What kind of relationship do you want with your child?
What sort of person do you want them to be when they grow up?
Changing old patterns takes time and effort. It's good to ask Plunket for help if you want to change how you are with your child.
Everyone’s different – your personality and your child’s personality will affect the way you are together. What works for one child may not work for another.
Some children are born placid and easy to settle, while others are wakeful and active.
Some parents can live with mess, while others struggle with an untidy house.
Understanding your child’s nature, and your own, will help you know how best to respond when they need something from you.
It will help you decide what to act on and what to ignore.