You’ve probably heard it before: the first two years of your baby’s life are the most critical. This is the window when your child will build foundations that will determine behavior well into adulthood. Although some of a baby’s personality can be predetermined by genetics, the emotional and intellectual stimulation you provide during the first two years influences a huge chunk of brain developmentas much as 70% after birth.
If the brain is starved during this period of a stimulating environment, your child could face a lifetime of emotional issues. Don’t be afraid to spoil your baby with hugs and kisses. Indulge a baby’s natural curiosity of the human face by being animated with your facial expressions. Model a passion for life and embrace emotion so your toddler can build the best foundation possible.
Limit “shame situations” where your forceful reaction to a negative behavior makes your child feel guilty, embarrassed, or shamed. If you’ve ever walked into a room to find your toddler playfully applying your lipstick all over her face, this may have produced a knee-jerk reaction “NO!” on your part. She probably would have looked shocked by your reaction and been reduced to tears. This is a shame situation. While brief episodes of shameful situations can stimulate creativity, sensitivity, and emotion, the situation must be followed by a quick recovery. In this case, laughing about the lipstick and sitting down to show her how to apply it correctly makes for a quick recovery. You can then make a game out of cleaning the lipstick off, making sure she’s involved. This is teaching a lesson instead of leaving the child with no clear understanding of what she did wrong.
Always practice empathetic parenting by putting yourself in your child’s shoes. This is the best way to develop a sense of trust, affection, and sensitivity between you both, and it will give your child the best emotional foundation that will last a lifetime.