Relationship-building describes the process of establishing emotional connections with others, starting from birth, which are based on trust and intimacy. Through relationships, children discover who they are and learn to understand others. When young children experience people helping, understanding, and enjoying them, they approach the world with openness and enthusiasm, and they grow to be responsive and caring people.
Babies are born with a drive to relate to and connect with others, and they continue to develop the social skills necessary to form strong, healthy relationships throughout their lives:
· A newborn gazes at her mother’s face as she breastfeeds. She recognizes her mother as the special, loving person who is always there for her, and calms down almost immediately when her mother picks her up and holds her close. This baby is learning that she is loved and that she can trust others to care for her and treat her well.
· A 6-month-old laughs and laughs as his father holds a napkin over his face, and then drops it to say, “Peek-a-boo!” Whenever his father tries to put the napkin back on the table, the baby says, “eh, eh, eh” to let his father know he wants him will hold up that silly napkin again. This baby is learning that he can connect with a loved one through a fun activity like this one. He is discovering that spending time together is satisfying and pleasurable.
· A 20-month-old wants to cut his own fruit for snack. His grandmother says no. He stamps his feet and sobs. His grandmother tells him she has an idea: She gives him a dull butter knife and guides his hand to help him cut some melon. This toddler is learning that his interests and needs are important and what it feels like to be understood by another person.
· A 2 ½-year-old sees her brother fall off his bicycle and begin crying. She runs over and starts to rub his back, like she’s seen her mommy do. This toddler is learning how to empathize with, or understand, another’s feelings and experiences.
1- Show a sincere interest in your child—whatever he is doing. Your attention is what he desires and is thrilled to receive. You can show your interest by commenting on or describing what he is doing: “You are using so many beautiful colors to make that drawing.” Or, get involved by following his lead. If he is putting blocks in a container, see if he’ll take turns with you, or if you can build something together.
2- This teaches your child to trust her instincts. Knowing you respect her feelings teaches your child empathy and respect for others, which are important elements in any relationship. Accepting her feelings, without minimizing them or making fun, also increases the chances that she will share more with you as she grows.
3- Television takes time away from hanging out together—and time away from children playing, solving problems, interacting, and actively learning about the world around them. When your child does watch, you can enhance the experience by talking with your child about the show—what she thought it was about, which characters she liked and disliked, how it made her feel.
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