Infants are capable of wonderful conversations through touch and eye contact. When an infant begins to engage actively with the eyes as you hold him or her, the mutual gaze is a conversation with your child. In fact, the ability to light you up in this process is the basis of your infant’s sense of himself or herself as loveable, lovely, fun to spend time with, and capable of making others happy. Self-esteem and self-confidence begin with feelings of being adored in infancy, and children who miss out on this have a harder time with self-esteem later in life.
This process continues into toddlerhood. Your toddler still needs your affection and attention along with the physical connection that cuddling and snuggling provide. Research has shown that family members who offer warm physical affection to each other have fewer angry and aggressive behaviors. Such affectionate physical touch activates chemicals for emotional bonding.
The shared moments of sheer intimacy with your child are vitally important. These are the moments when your child can feel a strong emotional connection without the distractions so inherent in our world today from the TV, computer, and phone. In these one-on-one moments—whether purely joyful or because you’re providing comfort for a bad cold, skinned knee, or fright—your child will feel deeply connected. Meaningful relationships are fundamental to long-term happiness.
Treasured memories are made in one-on-one moments.
More to consider: Remember when . . .
- Your dad threw you up in the air and always caught you?
- Your mom really understood and held you tight when you were scared?
- Someone looked in your eyes,