As a Healthy Babies, Healthy Children (HBHC) Public Health Nurse one of the best parts of my job is to help parents find moments of joy with their infants and children. Sharing joy and laughter can help parents and babies create a connection that will last a lifetime.
Moments of joy may look like:
- A time when you shared positive news with a friend who was just as happy about your news
- A great day spent with a friend doing something you love
Simple moments like these help strengthen our relationships, help us feel valued and help us feel good about ourselves. These moments can have the same beneficial effect on your child!
4 tips to create moments of joy with your child:
- Responding to cues
- When your baby looks into your eyes and raises their eyebrows, your baby is asking for a shared moment of joy.
- Talk to baby, smile at baby and use some gentle touch to say I’m here with you, I’m happy to see you too. Often baby will respond with a gentle sound or a smile of their own and it is your turn again.
- These interactions may only take a minute or two. Repeated throughout the day, this moment helps your baby feel loved and sets the foundation for your relationship.
- Making routines more fun
- Turn off all distractions during meals so enjoying the meal can have your full attention. Remember, the mission is for meal time to be a positive experience.
- Talk about the colours/tastes of the food, make a few funny noises and tickle a few toes in-between!
- Joining in play
- Play can be simply following your child’s gaze, talking about the new item and exploring. Play does not need to be complicated.
- For young children, everything is new. Your shared attention shows baby that you are noticing their interests.
- Sign up for developmental checklists from LookSee for more play ideas.
- Take care of yourself
- Manage your stress
- Eat well
- Get enough rest and sleep
- Be physically active everyday
- Take some quiet time for yourself each day
- Meet with other parents by joining a parenting program
- Reach out to your circle of support
Stress, anxiety, depression and even how we were parented can influence how we find these moments of joy. There are times in our parenting lives where it may be difficult to find the joy. Try to keep things simple.