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Spending precious time with your baby and children

Article written by Connie Limon Would
 you like to learn simple ways to bond with your baby and form a loving, nurturing attachment to your baby? Others may tell you that you are spoiling your baby or forming an "attached at the hip" relationship that will forever harm your baby.

Be reassured that if you practice the tips presented in this article with love balanced out with your own needs for rest, adult contact and intellectual stimulation, your child will definitely not grow to be forever attached to your hip.

Instead, he or she will grow to be an independent and secure adult, which is at the core of exactly what you as a parent have the responsibility of forming in your child.

These first years of life are when this foundation is laid. A strong, healthy attachment is the key to rearing a secure and independent adult.

As a parent or caregiver you have a lot of things to get done in a 24 hour period of time. There is laundry to do, meals to cook, errands to run and if you care for or have other children, their individual needs must be attended to as well.

Tips for forming a closer bond with your baby:

* Read and talk to your baby: Especially important if it is just you and your baby together for the majority of the time. Reading and talking to your baby helps your baby to understand and trust you. Good early books are picture books with one word descriptions of everyday objects on each page or books with short rhyming patterns.

* Avoid a non-stop chatter for your baby all day long; this can cause your baby to become over-stimulated and tune you out.

* Make reading times routine: Your baby will learn when it is time to listen.

* Play lap games with your baby: Peek-a-boo and patty cake help children develop fine motor skills and object permanence. More important, they provide times of closeness for you and your child.

* Massage your baby: Especially good for babies who get worked up quickly and have a hard time calming down, and for babies who are not able to self-soothe. Don't wait until he or she is fussy to give a massage. Massage your baby before and after a bath and during diaper changes. Infant massage is an important way to build attachment and soothe fussiness.

* Look at your baby while you are feeding him: This promotes attachment, but it also helps him or her to develop his own sense of identity. When you look into his eyes during a feeding, there is prolonged, intimate contact combined with warmth of being nestled in your arms. Change sides and you give baby a different view of you and help him or her to develop both sides of his brain and body. Of special note here, I observed a very young girl feeding her baby in this very manner, and I thought how beautiful the two of them appeared during those moments of feeding times, and how content they both appeared. Not only does your baby benefit from this close interaction during feeding times, but you will benefit as well.

* Kiss your baby: Kissing is an intimate activity that signals affection toward your baby and helps promote attachment. A kiss from "mommy" can often cure a whole realm of ailments and boo-boos in a baby's life.

* Talk to your baby when you are out of sight: Often babies become frightened when they realize a parent or caregiver has left the room. This can become frustrating if it happens every time you need to leave the room to answer the phone or to use the bathroom. Start early and you can help alleviate this fear. As you leave the room, talk to your baby about what you are doing or where you are going. Just hearing your voice is reassuring to baby that you are not far away.

* Be there when your baby wakes up: If possible, and you know your child always wakes from a nap at a certain time, make it a habit to occasionally be nearby when he or she wakes up, ready to give a hug and kiss.

Practicing these few simple tips should help you form a closer attachment to your baby that will help to lay the foundation for him or her to grow into the secure, independent adult you desire.
next article written by Coby Edmunds
To feel loved, safe, and secure is fundamental to everyone, regardless of age. That is why we must ensure that we make time in our busy days to provide a special moment for each of our children and for ourselves. "You don’t know how I feel and you don’t care", "Leave me alone", "Get out of my space", "I don’t need you". If you have ever heard these kinds of comments from your children then perhaps it’s time to stand back and look at what is happening between you and your family.
How do we address everyone’s needs, including our own? How do we deal with the specific needs of our children without sacrificing our own sanity? Who or what comes first? Your career? Your family? Your partner? Your health? Step one is to admit that we are not guilty of a crime by acknowledging that we are not perfect.
 So the house is not picture perfect. All the washing and ironing isn’t done! Does that matter more than whether you have spent time to have a hug? Spent time to check homework is being done? Spent time to find out if there is a special event coming up one you should attend? It’s all about priorities. You don’t necessarily have to put them in a definitive order.
All can be balanced if you have the right attitude and perhaps a little professional help. Have you ever asked your children what they expect of you? Ever told them what you expect of them? Do you even know what your expectations are? An assessment of the way each family member treats the others might create a more harmonious household.
Be honest with yourself, your partner and your children. Admit your own shortcomings without denigrating yourself. The need to know what is expected of them is important for all children. Depending on the age of the child, expectations should be clearly outlined in language that is positive. Give them the kinds of parameters that say, “you can do ‘this’ but ‘that’ is not acceptable.” Many times teenagers have told me, "My parents let me do what I want. They don’t care." The child interprets this permissive attitude as, "If they don’t care, they don’t love me enough."
Most parents do love their children but may not know how to show it in a way that the child understands. Children of all ages need some time when they can have their parents’ undivided attention. For busy people it could mean scheduling family time into your diary. It also means scheduling time for each child individually and sticking to it. Quite simply, you must make time for your family they need you now.
Families need to spend meaningful time together. This does not mean just being in the same vicinity, but it does mean doing simple things like cooking the family meal together, or going to places that create opportunities to interact in such a way that honest communication can occur. These should be the times when children feel relaxed and free to express themselves without interruption and be listened to.
Time in front of the TV or going to a movie does not provide these opportunities. When children feel that they have to vie for their parents’ attention, the results are often disastrous. The undivided attention of a parent is important to a child but not always a top priority for a busy parent. The intention of the schedules and reminder notes is not to ‘force’ the family into routine that suits you. It is, rather, an attempt to establish patterns of behaviour (yours and your children’s) that benefit the whole family and to create a peaceful atmosphere where everyone feels loved and valued. Here are some tips that may help to show your children that you really do care about them:
Take time to listen to your children without interruption. For little ones, get down to their level, perhaps kneel or sit with them. They will appreciate your undivided attention. Ask your children how they would like to spend time with you. Be prepared to participate in what is important to them even if it is an activity that you would not choose yourself. Observe your children do they respond to a hug; a quick back rub; cooking in the kitchen with you; a small, thoughtful, inexpensive gift; or genuine encouragement and praise?
What do they enjoy and respond to most? Take the time to read to your children Care enough to say ‘no’- unreasonable requests and behaviour are not acceptable. Children and teenagers should be aware of consequences for unacceptable behaviour. Take every opportunity to do things with your children rather than being an observer from the side lines Plan special occasions. When planning a family event ask your children for their input. Give them plenty of choice and notice. Forcing them to attend a family event or an event they are not interested in is not a good start.
 Children and teenagers should be part of family gatherings. These gatherings help provide them a sense of belonging, responsibility and acceptance, and tolerance for others. Be consistent and fair - try to cater for everyone’s needs, including your own. What does not happen for one child this week may be planned for the following week.
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Put aside time plan it and make it a regular part of your family routine Consider regular family meetings. These are a good time to discover what is, and what is not, working in your family. Prepare guidelines for these meetings in advance. Renewal Life Solutions specialises in parent effectiveness training Brisbaneand effective parenting for Brisbanefamilies. For more information and guidance for raising children in the Brisbanearea, contact Coby Edmunds at Renewal Life Solutions today.

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