The Dos And Don’ts of Raising A Secure Baby
Learning about attachment styles for the first time can really shock you and open your eyes. You might think it doesn’t apply to you at first, but it’s basic psychology and it applies to absolutely everybody! There are three main attachment styles, and we all have one. Our attachment style can either be secure, anxious, or avoidant – and these have an impact on how we conduct our personal relationships, as well as how we raise children in the future. Yep – it’s all decided for us when we are babies, depending on how we are raised!
Of course this doesn’t mean you can use the excuse ‘it’s how I was raised!’ to half heartedly raise a child. Figuring these things out about yourself and working to improve them is your responsibility, no matter how you were raised. That being said, if you’re just learning about this for the first time, you’ll want to know what you can do to make sure you raise a secure baby. Read on to learn more!
Respond To Your Child’s Cues
This is about you and your unique child, not just any child. You know your child best, so you need to stay attuned to them and respond to their cues. You might think that by refusing to pick your child up when they cry for you, you are making them independent, but this is not the case. You can’t spoil a child with love. They need to feel secure in their attachment to you before they can develop confident independence and autonomy.
Make sure your child is aware that they can get your attention when they are feeling frightened, or even when they want to share positive emotions with you. Emotional support should go both ways, both when things are scary and when things are happy. Don’t make the mistake of giving them the support only when they are scared.
Use Eye Contact
Something as simple as giving your child eye contact, no matter how small they are, will make a big difference to your bond and how secure they feel around you.
Greet Your Child Mindfully When You’ve Been Away
Let’s say you’ve been out running errands, and you come back to your child. Make sure you are mindful of when they have finished reconnecting with you. The time they need with you can vary day to day, but there will come a point when they have expressed that they are happy you are back before they go off and play on their own.
Apologize When You Mess Up, But Don’t Go OTT
Attachment style is about trust. Genuine apologies can make such a difference in adult relationships, so of course it can make a difference in parent/child relationships. Building a secure attachment is not about never getting things wrong as a parent – that would be impossible. However, you can continue to build trust and repair trust by apologizing.
It can be really hard to leave when your child looks sad, but sneaking away from them could do more harm than good. Routines will help your child know what to expect if they are naturally anxious.
On the other hand, you might think that this doesn’t matter because your baby barely bats an eyelid when you leave. However, they might not actually be as self reliant as you think. It’s likely the case that they have an avoidant attachment style and that their distress is just not showing, not non existent.
Children are so intuitive, and your own feelings can rub off on them. If you stress about your baby rolling over in sleep, then they could sense this and wake up. They can notice the slightest huff and puff, the slightest change in your body language. This is how their attachment style is formed so easy on. They know when you’re being genuine and they know when you’re pretending.
Children do have natural temperaments of course. Some kids may be naturally anxious, for example. In cases like this you will need to work a little harder so you understand their anxiety and help them to explore the world confidently.
Pay Attention To Your Baby’s Interests
It’s important you and your baby both spend time doing the same things, and that you enjoy it. If your baby wants to do a puzzle with you, try to make it more entertaining by teaching them things and asking them questions. This shows them that you are engaged and interested in what you’re doing together. If you’re doing an under the sea puzzle, you could tell them about the ocean and different kinds of fish, for example.
Be In Sync With Your Baby
You should try to stay in sync with your baby’s emotions. Tickling, for example, can be a lot of fun. However, you should stop when your baby shows signs of no longer enjoying it or when an older child asks you too. A baby can quickly become overstimulated, and you can teach a child a lot about their body autonomy depending on whether you stop if they ask you to. All of these things make a big difference – if you want to teach your child early on that their body is theirs and that nobody has the right to touch it without their permission, you need to teach them with your actions.
Researching the various attachment styles yourself will help you to understand them more and see what you can do to ensure your baby grows up securely attached. This will make such a big difference, not only to your relationship, but to how your baby perceives the world, how confident they are as they grow, and even what type of parent they are themselves. Do you have a secure baby? Leave your insights and any advice you have below!