As parent, your goal is to help your baby develop appropriate behaviour as early on letting them grow into happy and responsible individual. Success in parenting is a journey. How do you ensure success in parenting? You can do this through positive parenting.
Developing a baby’s sense of security and proper attitude is something that they need to help them grow up happy and responsible throughout life. It is your responsibility as parent to help them achieve that but you might be wondering how to accomplish this. A big part of parenting is communicating with your children and there may be times that you find this challenging. To ensure that you’re on the right track to positive parenting, it is important that you have a good grasp of the positive techniques in rearing and educating children. Here’s to give you some examples of great parenting techniques and how you can use these to fit your family’s communication needs.
Babies have basic but crucial needs that manifest themselves during the first few months of their lives. Responding to these needs will help your baby learn to feel security and trust. It will help them learn, love, and grow more. Here are some examples of those needs:
- Attention. Babies need attention and the best person on earth who could give it to them is none other than you as parent. Giving your baby proper attention develops parent-child relationship. When babies feel fussy or worried about something, parents usually pick them up to try and calm them down. Doing this helps babies understand that parents are people they can count on to take care of their needs.
- Love. There is nothing wrong with holding a baby frequently, despite some people saying that this would spoil them. The first half of the baby’s life is a time of unused energy, hunger, and other things to fuss about. Parents have the role of heeding those needs by soothing, holding, feeding and cuddling their babies. The important message to get across is that you love him and that you are there for him. This creates a bond between the baby and family members and takes care of your baby’s emotional needs. It also teaches your baby that it is good to show warm behaviour too.
- Playfulness. You may be busy throughout the day but it is important to take time to share fun, enjoyable moments with your baby. Physical interaction can help him to learn to socialise and spend time with other people.
- Patience and Consistency. Crying is a baby’s default way of communicating and asking you to meet his needs. The cries may differ depending on the need that your baby feels at that moment. He may whimper to tell you that he feels discomfort. A loud cry may be his way of saying that he is hungry and needs to be fed right away. When your baby starts signing, he will begin to use signs that represent these feelings. Be patient in determining what these cries mean and pay attention to the signs he makes so your baby will learn to expect your response.
Babies start to get smarter and want to move around a lot more once they reach around 6 months of age. They are inherently curious and want to touch everything they see. This can sometimes spell trouble. You want to think of ways to get him to move away from dangerous things like electric outlets and sharp objects. As your baby starts to move around, you may find yourself wishing that he would stop and just stay in one place. Although it is good for your baby to start building their own ideas and explore as much as he can, he should also learn what it is that you want him to do. Encourage proper behaviour by providing him with the things he needs such as positive attention. Babies need this and if they get it enough then they would be less inclined to try annoying behaviours in order to get it. Use signs that are positive and affirming whenever your baby does something that you like. You may find that with some children it works to just ignore some irritating behaviours but there are those who would need to channel that into another activity. Think of his reason for wanting your attention. He may want to have some fun together with you or may just need you to spend quiet time with him.
The kinds of positive attention you give will vary as your baby grows older. Infants need eye contact, cuddling, and smiles to know that their parents are giving them attention. You can also sing, read simple stories, and practice your signs together. These activities show your baby that you care while at the same time practicing their language skills. Positive attention does not stop at smiling whenever your baby does something good. Your baby may have not so good feelings such as frustration and discomfort and giving names to these feelings will help your baby express them positively.
Using music with signing and reading to your baby is also a great way of attracting his attention. Repetitive rhythmic patterns will help your baby recognise a song and he will start to expect you to sing it more. When your baby gets tired of this you can try to introduce new melodies. You can also introduce rhythm and emphasis when using baby sign. You can make slower and larger movements to emphasize what you are saying or include loving facial expressions while signing an affectionate word.
Children, no matter how young they are, want to have some control over the happenings in their surroundings. During their first year, babies will express what they want in very obvious ways. They will point to and reach out towards an object to tell you that they want it. They will lift their hands when they want you to pick them up. They do this because they realize that these actions can make adults do what they want. It is necessary though that, as parents, you decide how much power your baby can have over himself or any member of the family. They can begin to take part in decision-making.
Your family’s chosen method of communication is important because these teach your children to make independent choices. Decisions can be expressed even in non-vocal terms. You may bring in a toy when your baby is crying and hold it near his hand. If he reaches out for it or smiles then he is essentially choosing to play with it. When you hold out two toys and he reaches out for one instead of the other then your baby has made a choice. You can confirm this choice by signing about it. Teaching your baby to make choices helps him to be independent and confident. It lets him know that you respect his growing capability – having a small “say” in his life – and teaches him to respect others too.
Think of the choices that you frequently offer your baby. Make sure to learn about those choices by putting them on your list of signs to learn. This list will grow as your baby gets older and begins to pay attention to more things. You can teach your baby the steps for making choices by asking him questions and confirming his choice. Of course, the choices that your baby has are real-life choices. Choosing between juice and water is a choice of what to drink. Deciding whether to play cars with daddy or read a book with mommy is a decision of what to do for fun.
Babies learn which behaviours get our attention and whether that attention is good or bad. When he smiles, plays, or starts a conversation with you, you would naturally respond enthusiastically. This is the start of praise. You can encourage good behaviours such as eating properly, sleeping on time, and behaving by praising them. Of course, your baby has to know what you are praising for it to be effective. He needs to see your sign, hear your voice, and look at your signs.
Descriptive praise happens when you tell your baby about a behaviour that you liked. You call attention to the specific behaviour so that your baby would know what is that you liked. Be genuine and don’t exaggerate. Describing may feel like a lot for your baby to learn so you could consider keeping a list of signs that represent words you want to emphasise. Match your facial expression with what you are signing. Put on an excited face if you are happy about something your baby is doing.
Signing transitions can help a baby expect what is going to happen next and will decrease the likelihood that he will throw a tantrum because he got interrupted. The transition from playtime to lunchtime can be done by holding up a spoon and signing, “Time for lunch.” You can also sign transitions for places. Use signs for words that your baby can associate to locations such as the supermarket, the church, etc.
Routines allow your baby to expect what is going to happen next and prevent too many surprises. It teaches him to cooperate because he becomes used to a way of doing things. For example, your baby would come to expect that bath time comes after playtime and will be more willing to go along with it. Follow the basic steps to using baby sign and enjoy the benefits that it brings.
Dealing with tantrums:
Babies resort to tantrums when they are hungry, uncomfortable, or frustrated and they do not know how to express it. Communicating effectively with your baby will lessen these instances. You will be able to manage his behaviour better if you have strong communication. Your baby will discover that the positive attention that comes with doing the right things is better than throwing tantrums. Make sure that he understands that there are better ways to attract your attention than this.