Ten Things to Remember When Your Child is a Baby

A baby and parents

1. Long before your baby can talk, they are learning about language.

They are sending you clues about what they need, wants and feels. They will test different cries, gurgles and facial expressions to see how you respond. Then they’ll keep doing the ones that get the results they want. As they learn that they can make things happen, they will develop confidence and want to try new things. Keep on talking with your baby. Try repeating the sounds they make and adding new ones.

2. Learning to “read” your baby is fun, but can be a challenge.

They smile – you smile back. They reach out – you touch their hand. If they turn their head away when you speak, that can hurt you. But she may be telling you they are tired. Or maybe they need your voice to be softer. They may just want to be left alone for a moment. It takes trial and error to figure out what your baby is trying to tell you, so be patient.

3. Babies experience relationships through their senses.

The best way to tell your baby you love them is with lots of talking, cuddling and eye contact. You cannot always be there when they want a hug. But when they are“asking” for a hug, do your best to deliver.

4. Your baby forms a secure attachment to you as you care for them.

Through daily routines, your baby learns that they can rely on you. They gain a feeling of safety. This trusting attachment sets the basis for their future relationships.

5. You cannot spoil your baby by responding to their needs.

Babies are born with a need for human contact. In the process of providing it, you learn more about them, and they learn more about you. They learn that they can count on you.

6. Special moments need time.

Not all of your one-on-one moments with your baby will be happy and special. You need to spend lots of time getting used to each other for those special moments to happen. They will happen more if you focus on your child while doing everyday things.

7. Babies are most ready to learn when they are calm and alert, in a quiet environment.

This is a good time to spend with your baby and to play.

8. Toys can’t take your place.

Giving your baby toys and other safe things to play with is good for their development. But playing WITH your child is even more important to their well-being.

9. Even when you are really busy, it’s important to make time for your baby.

Housework isn’t the top priority. If you have a partner, try to take turns with chores and with spending time with your baby. Build a circle of friends, relatives and neighbours. We can all use a bit of help!

10. You don’t have to be perfect to be a terrific parent.

So relax. And your child doesn’t have to be perfect to be a terrific child. You will both make mistakes, and you will both recover. So enjoy each other now because babies grow up quickly!