Giving babies room to show independence as they grow

BABIES begin life totally dependent on adults for their physical, emotional and intellectual needs.

As they grow, feeling a sense of belonging and being able to attach to others is important for them to become successful, socially appropriate, and secure adults.

However, there is a balance.

It is important not to smother babies with too much physical attention, which can inhibit natural self-regulated development.

In other words, babies need time and space to learn to work some things out for themselves.

A self-assured independent child or a child who feels entitled to preferential treatment is made not born.

For this to happen, it is important that parental support is gradually eased off as babies grow and develop.

The term "helicopter parent" is a phrase used to describe parents who hover constantly or who, as Judith Warner says are "physically hyper-present but somehow psychologically M.I.A." ("How to Raise a Child" by Judith Warner.)

Children are not given room to work through things such as how to soothe themselves (sucking fingers or holding a cuddly toy).

Play is how children learn about life and how and where they fit in.

Allow children space for open-ended play, leave room for them to observe, mimic, try and keep trying.

An environment rich with opportunities of exploration and trial and error learning reduces the chance of children always looking to adults for answers as they advance in an imperfect world.

Helping children develop their imagination and solve problems on their own builds self-esteem.

Jody Allen is the Chief Editor of Stay at Home Mum www.stayathomemum.com.au.


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