Making a connection with your child

It’s a common thought for mothers. “I spend most of my child’s waking hours with him. Surely this is enough to form a connection between us?”  This should be generally true, but sometimes you need more help working out what sort of attachment is best for your infant, toddler or child. Cheryl Fingelson, The Sleep Coach, explains.

There have been many studies done on the attachment between parents and their children.  It has been acknowledged that those who have a strong connection with their parents generally perform better on most growth and personality test results.

Here are some of my thoughts on what makes a child feel secure and confident.

  • Can too much attention spoil a child?  In my opinion, I don’t believe so.  When a child knows that the parents hear him and understand his needs, so his confidence grows.  The secure child has less need to throw tantrums to gain attention (although there’s no fail-safe against meltdowns!)
  • Often “problems” arise when the parent /child attachment is weak. To strengthen this bond, remember one-on-one time spent with your child is vital in developing a strong attachment.
  • A new mother or carer soon learns to interpret the different cries of the baby.  The hungry cry, the ill cry, “I’m tired” or the uncomfortable (need a nappy change) cry are quickly learned and help your bond as you meet baby’s needs.
  • As your toddler develops language skills, his confidence grow also, especially when you can communicate (ask what the problem is, or why there are tears!). This consistent interaction leads to a great bonding, providing a secure source for love, comfort, and help. When you take time to ask pertinent questions your child soon learns that you understand them and support them always.
  • Join in their activities and set time aside to do things together. Find out what they really love doing rather that what you think would be a good idea.
  • Try to see  problems through their eyes when they come to you for help.

One important and major aspect of your children’s wellbeing is to ensure that they get sufficient sleep time.

A new situation can cause anxiety within your child that could be hard to for him to verbalise.  Starting “big” school, changing schools, moving house, the arrival of a new sibling, bullying in the playground are some examples that could all trigger concern.  If this results in a lack of sleep, or broken sleep, or not falling asleep easily, your child may not cope successfully with these issues.  Feel free to call me to discuss how to re-establish to a good night’s sleep.  It’s not that hard and the sooner the better.

Your developing attachment with your child should be the key understanding your child’s anxiety.  Your interaction and the knowledge that you are there for your child and that they feel easy to talk about their fears angers well for their future.

This way, as your child grows, he gains independence to explore his world.  Through the attachment, his self-esteem provides the basis for a balanced and happy adult.

Cheryl Fingleson is a paediatric sleep consultant. As a mother of two, she very well knows the feelings of agony and desperation when you have a child that struggles to settle and sleep. She doesn’t believe in leaving babies or children to cry it out, nor in the practices of controlled crying. Her approach is to empower parents with the right tools and techniques to teach their babies and children to go to sleep calmly, happily and independently. Cheryl is available for in home and Skype consultations at The Sleep Coach.

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