Respect – how?

Ways of showing and communicating trust and respect:

  • Let the baby know before we pick him/her up: “I am going to pick you up….right now.” Then wait and only then pick the baby up.
  • Let the baby know before doing anything to their body.

Sure it is faster, to wipe their nose unannounced (without warning).  

What do we do when we tell them: “I am going to wipe your nose…” and then maybe deal with the protest — we build trust. The baby is learning to respect his/her body and trust mommy who is going to let him know even if it is an unpleasant event. 

  • Let the baby know when you are going to leave the room: “I am going to the bathroom…I will be right back.” Eventually it will help the child and mom build trust and feel safe.
  • Let the baby know before asking somebody to hold him/her.

Will we always ask the baby? If it is truly a choice – sure. If it is not (you need to go to work/bathroom or take care of something, then you will just let the baby know what’s going on).

  • Involve the baby in caregiving activity/allow children to be active participants: slowly name what you doing, wait for anticipation. The more the baby is included at an early age the easier it will be to gain cooperation and connection in the future.
  • Allow frustrations and mistakes. It can be hard not to “rescue” our little ones. Especially when we feel that we know how to do it and it is easy/tempting to help.

We can easily find a ball that rolls away from the baby, yet it’s important to slow down and allow your child to make that discovery for himself. Give the child time to solve problems or allow the child to make the choice not to solve it this time.

  • Allow free exploration and free movement. Create a safe space for your baby where he can spend time on his back looking around and discovering. Enjoy this time together by being present and gently observing with soft eyes. During this time you do not necessarily have to do anything other than be present and give your undivided attention.  (There will be other times when you laugh, play, talk and giggle.) It is important for your child to have time for uninterrupted play. Have basic trust in your child as a self-learner and initiator – better to say nothing. We do not have to evaluate in order to encourage.)
  • Set clear and age appropriate limits.

When children feel respected, they feel secure and they learn to respect others and themselves.