"When a parent connects with her child and responds to her cues, it lays the foundation for the child's future development," said Grazyna Kochanska, professor of developmental psychology at the University of Iowa.
These early connections don't only promote a positive relationship between parent and child, but they may actually help improve a child's behavior and yield other important benefits later in life.
In a study published in February in the journal Child Development
, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health
colleagues found that preschool-age children who developed a close, positive, reciprocal and mutually responsive relationship with their mothers during the first two years of life were more likely to be cooperative, compliant and patient than children who hadn't developed these strong ties.
"When you develop a mutually responsive relationship, your child becomes eager and willing to respond to your parenting influence.He'll want to comply.Consequently, you greatly reduce the need to use power for controlling and disciplining your child," Kochanska
"During infancy, pay attention to your baby's cues and learn about them," Kochanska
What comforts your baby?What does each type of cry mean?When you ask yourself these questions, you can begin to recognize the many ways your baby is communicating with you.
â€¢ Be responsive.
"Respond quickly and consistently to your infant," Kochanska
said."This lets your baby know you're there for him and that you want to meet his
â€¢ Make your response match what you think your baby is trying to tell you.
"As babies grow, the range of signals will increase," Kochanska
said.If your baby seems scared or upset, provide comfort.If he
seems bored, try entertaining him.
â€¢ Nurture the child's independence.
"Your child will become more and more autonomous," Kochanska
Provide plenty of opportunities for him to assert his
independence, like choosing what shirt to wear or whether to eat oatmeal or eggs for breakfast.
"Shared good times are part of the glue that connects parents and children," Kochanska
said."When you share good times with someone, it's natural that you'll feel closer to each other."She
tells parents to laugh, be playful and find things you both like to do.
â€¢ Value the everyday moments.
"Each opportunity you have to connect with your child is an important one," Kochanska