The term "attachment parenting" is most likely not new to your ears, a concept that quickly many associate with some sort of alternative method of parenting, where moms only drink organic green juice instead of coffee, babies exclusively breastfeed until they are 8 years old, there are only cloth diapers or no diapers at all ( the term "elimination communication" pops into the mind with that), and homeschooling is the only way to teach children. While it is the life for some, this way of living can be too overwhelming for many of us, and so it is fully justifiable that we just wave the term away and continue with our lives as we know how. But should we really do so?
Every parent knows whether or not they are connected to their child. A bond that theoretically starts at birth, sometimes is not so easy to develop. Modern pace of living, careers, other children, daily necessities, and simply the stress of birth : blissful as natural birth is, not everyone is lucky to have a complication-free low risk pregnancies that would allow a woman to choose what she wishes - sometimes are the factors that are beyond our control. So how does one develop what was supposed to occur naturally but didn't really happen that way?
But there is more.
Early Moments Matter, an organization that is dedicated to making sure that every child has the best possible chance at emotional well-being ( a part of a broader This Emotional Life campaign), has too confirmed with the studies that the first months and years of life are crucial to the development of emotionally healthy children. And while there is even a kit that is available for those that are in need of more help and/or information, you don't have to wait for a mailman to knock on your door, and you can start today with a few simple concepts suggested by early childhood development professionals and tested and proven successful by many parents throughout the world, including - but not limited to ( sounds a little attorney-ish, but it is true!) - your faithful Urban Crusing team.
Each child is born with their own personality and there is little one can do to change it. The sooner a parent understands that, the easier life becomes for both , parent and child. Whether you have a little explosive bomb or a shy, quiet little one, accepting your child for who they are helps them to feel secure and builds trust in an adult figure. We remember little of our childhood by the time we cross over the 30s bridge. But if you attempt to remember yourself at a very young age, the memories of how "overwhelming" adults were will most likely come to your mind. A sincere smile to a little one will do wonders for parent-child relationships.
This is a difficult one, because who has extra time, really? But children need your time. That doesn't necessarily mean that you have to spend hours building sand castles , dress-up or playing chess ( although all are necessary and excellent things to do) . Not always possible, but when it is, bring your children to work with you for an hour or so ( Europe is ahead of US here for sure). Just being near by a parent without being "shushed" away means a world to your little one and helps them to connect to your world from their level of understanding, which is just as important as it is for the parent to get on the knees and try to see the surroundings through the child's eyes. Literally. And then, after working hours or when the weekend rolls around, take a trip together to the nearest park and do nothing, but play. The minutes spend today will be priceless in the years to come.
From high-fives to hugs , you both need it. Keep your babies close. It is from the safety and warmth of your arms that babies learn that relationships are nurturing and secure. It may seem annoying that your little one is so "clingly" and difficult, no doubt, but try to keep in mind that the pay-out is a confident and successful child. A price that is well worth paying, won't you agree?
A very broad term , "teach" here is narrowed down to emotional responses. Babies learn from parent's expressions ( as we know from Suzanne Zeedyk's studies) and toddlers learn from explanations. If you were to pause and think for a moment, you realize that it is rather challenging and confusing to be a small little person. As babies mature and develop into toddlers, they face emotional responses, but are not always clear how to deal with them, transforming, more often then not, into the "terrible twos", etc. By reacting to your child's emotions and talking them through things, you are not only helping them to understand how to deal with this whole new world of "feelings", but also create the bond of trust that will come very needed when your - today - baby turns 15 and enters high school.
5. KEEP UNIQUE TO YOUR FAMILY.
There is no right, "the only way", or the proper way when it comes to applying the above mentioned principles. Some families have mothers that stay home all day, others have moms that are CEOs of world known companies, some families are based on a single parent - the list can go on. Your family is unique to you and your children, but the principles are flexible to apply to all. Find some time to think through the information, and put a few minutes aside for your child. The difference it makes today may the be only thing that matters to you in 20 years from now.
6. JUST HAVE FUN.
Because, who doesn't want to be the funnest parent in the world ever?
^^ this little man is everyone's center of the world. he knows it too. and expresses his affection in many ways. the favorite one? stealing the sister's hat ( who is an ABSOLUTE hat person!) every.single.time ^^
^^ discovering the joys of slides has never been more fun ...^^
^^... because there are older brothers and sisters that live for taking a ride together ^^
^^ and then there are all things that you can hang on... who wouldn't want that right?! ^^
^^ slides are fun. what's next. decisions, decisions...^^
^^ mommy, i am stuck!!! help!!! ^^
^^ and then 5 seconds later... in the line again ^^
^^ making friends... it starts with a pretty stroller...^^
WHAT DO YOU LOVE DOING TOGETHER WITH YOUR CHILDREN?