Top 3 Choices Great Parents Make to Raise Confident, Healthy Children
Choose respect. Respect yourself. Don't deny or procrastinate your own needs. You will be a more effective and present parent when you address your own physical and emotional needs. Also, trust your instincts! You are enough.
Respecting your baby: Involve your infant in the daily processes of life. Caregiving routines are your time to connect. Invite your baby to participate. You can communicate respectfully, even with newborns! Speak authentically, in real and simple language, about what is going on. Giving her time to prepare for changes (such as "I'm going to pick you up now" or "I see you need a diaper change") develops a sense of trust between you as she begins to see circumstances as predictable and safe. You don't have to intervene all the time in a child's world. Let your infant explore and learn to play independently.
The key to respect is sensitive observation. Notice what interests him; observe her preferences. In as peaceful and calm a manner as you can, make an intensive effort to listen to what your baby is trying to communicate and validate those feelings.
Choose patience. Let your baby show you what she can do, and appreciate that. Parents and professionals who are always pushing children to their next milestone are not only missing the beauty and wonder of what a child can do in this moment, but they are also setting up a situation of disappointed expectation for what they cannot do. Giving an infant room to practice what he can do develops the very skills he needs to move independently and confidently to the next step, whether that's rolling over, sitting up, or walking. Your baby's unique growth is right on time, so why rush it? When you enjoy the gift this moment is, your child learns the depth of unconditional love.
Choose freedom. Avoid restrictive equipment and create an authentically safe space. ("Authentically safe" means that your baby would be safe even if you were accidentally locked outside for 40 minutes, for instance.) Instead of confining your child, allowing him to move freely respects the process of development. Most commonly purchased items are not in fact necessary or even in an infant's best interest. Bouncy seats, swings, walkers, and other equipment that put infants into positions that are unnatural (that is, positions they could not get into or out of independently) or restrictive do not contribute to the infant's development. In fact, such unnatural restriction can affect his cognitive growth, social skills, and personality. An infant allowed to move freely can "practice" the skills needed to progress to the next stage of development and develops good body image, spatial relations, and a sense of balance to help him learn how to move, how to fall, and how to recover. The child also learns good judgement about what she is and is not able to do.
Photos courtesy of Montessori Children's House of Durham