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Festivities with Family

December: Building Relationships

By Bright by Three - December 1, 2018

You can also check out this blog post on Denver's top mom blog, Mile High Mamas.

Happy holidays to all you parents and caregivers. This jolly season is a great chance to spend time with your child and strengthen those family bonds that promote healthy growth and brain development. Festivities with the family can certainly be a handful, but your children get the opportunity to meet and interact with extended family, close friends and important loved ones who can also be instrumental in shaping their childhood. Here are some tips to stimulate family engagement to make sure children feel loved and understood, so they can form that bond with their first teachers--you, your family and friends!

New family and friends in a child’s life helps them learn about the world and the relationships around them.
  • Tell family stories with puppets to increase her knowledge of relationships. Here’s a video to show you how!
  • When you are having a meal with your family, sing the “Hello Everybody” song to each person. You sing, “Hello (the person’s name). How are you today?” and then the person answers. Have your child lead the song too!
  • Family, friends, & neighbors play a huge role in caring for kids. All can create fun learning moments every day! Check out this Sesame Street video to find out why these people are so important.
  • It is normal for young ones to be shy around new friends. Encourage him and build his confidence.
    • During an interaction with a new face hold your baby securely while you greet the person.
    • Help him touch the person’s hand or offer the new the friend a toy.  
    • Invite the new friend to give him a toy, encouraging them to share a toy back and forth.
    • If your child becomes comfortable being held by a new friend, make sure they stay close to you so he will feel safe and have the option to return to you.
    • Family and friends play an important role, but your relationship with them as their parent or key caregiver is crucial to all their learning and development. Here are some great ways to strengthen that bond.

In the first few months of life, your baby needs your immediate attention so she can learn to trust you.
  • Research shows that creating a secure attachment between you and your baby has a direct effect on how she thinks about learning, relationships, and the world in general.
  • When you quickly and consistently meet your newborn’s needs, he will learn there is someone who cares for him, and he is worth being cared for.
  • A child who trusts is able to explore and learn because he knows he has a safe place to return to: you!
  • You can talk to your child about anything! Use her name as you share face time telling her about the world around her.  

Babies’ brains are developing fast, here’s how you can strengthen relational bonds, and encourage their learning.
  • Talk a lot with your baby. Label and narrate. “You’re eating an orange carrot!” Give her time to respond.
  • Respond to her communications. See how long you can keep a back-and-forth conversation (even if it’s babbling) going.
  • Give your baby time to observe what you’re doing and then copy you.
  • Play with your baby by giving him safe toys to touch and explore. Toys like rattles can be good at teaching cause and effect. He shakes it, it make noise.   
Growing toddlers still need consistent support and encouragement from you. Keep giving your child attention even as they become more independent.
  • For busy parents, it can be easy to just talk to children only when they are doing something wrong. But it is really important to remember to say good things when a child is being good too! Encouragement helps kids learn, but it takes a lot of practice!
  • To guide children toward good behavior:
    • Praise and reward children for good behavior.
    • If she is doing something bad, direct her attention to something good.
    • Beware the word “don’t.” Be sure to teach and show your child what you want him to do.
  • Here are some ways to praise your child that strengthen their relationship with you:
    • Use “I like” statements. “I like what you are doing. I like it when you _____.”
    • Praise her effort. “You can do it. Keep trying.”
    • Praise his cooperation. “Good job helping with ____.”
    • Use any chance you get to encourage your child!
    • Use “we”. This magic word makes children like to feel like they are part of a team! “We did it!”

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