“Parental love in early childhood, followed by affectionate relationships from one’s peers and teachers in our school years, are the single most important predictors of wellbeing and mental health throughout our life.”Dr. Vikram Patel, Professor of Global Health, Harvard Medical School
in The Science of Love in Childhood (a series by UNICEF)
We can all agree that love matters. However, parenting is not always easy. To help you in your parenting journey, we have gathered a few tips to think about and remember. They will help you to build a nurturing environment and loving home for your child to grow up in.
7 ways for new parents to build a nurturing environment
1. Listen and be present
We are in constant need of being listened to. For us, attunement is extremely important for our sense of connection. Use active listening and respond with verbal acknowledgement and positive body language. Put away your phone and be present when you are spending time with your child.
2. Encourage, compliment and praise
Creating positive experiences, especially connected to challenges and efforts, builds self confidence, engagement and excitement. If positive behavior isn’t rewarded, there’s a risk that your child will give up and feel like a failure. Compliment for effort, not the results. It teaches your child that putting in the work and trying is the most important part.
3. Feel with your child
To show empathy is a way to open up the door to emotional connection. If we are understanding and calm even in the most difficult situations, the child will be more open to talk about all kinds of emotions and feelings. Teach them to understand when and why their feelings appear in different circumstances.
4. Always stay positive
Smiling is contagious, but we can sometimes forget that “bad” emotions rub off. If you’re feeling angry or frustrated your child will “catch” those feelings. A happy home creates a happy child.
5. Stay active
Exercise and physical activity is proven to have good effects on both body and mind. Physical activity is important from day one to adult life. Begin with practicing tummy time to help your baby to gain strength and build muscles that they will use and help all future development of the body.
6. Be a role model
“Monkey See, Monkey Do” is a well known phrase. We learn from others how to behave when we don’t know the answer. Children will copy your behavior – how you act, treat others and talk.
7. Play, have fun and laugh together
Playing is one of the most motivating and pleasurable activities for both children and adults. Playful interactions make us more creative, expressive and social.
Find your own way of parenting
There is no straight answer to what makes a good parent. The definitions are endless. In the end, it’s all about finding your own way of parenting. Love, affection and family time is what matters the most.
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