Social distancing is difficult for all of us. We often find ourselves missing our friends, missing going to work every morning, going to restaurants, bars, stores, etc. We miss the hustle and bustle of the day because we are social beings. Babies are as well. Babies’ brains develop more in their first 3 years than in any other part of their life, and so we must ask ourselves, how is quarantine and social distancing changing the way my baby’s brain may be developing? Not only are you all having to work from home, but you also want to make sure you are being the best possible parent and teacher for your child. I want to start with…you are doing great. The best a person can do is their best. Your baby loves you, your baby loves watching you, and your baby is constantly learning from you. With that, I would like to go over some ways to help your baby emotionally and developmentally during this time.
The first step in helping your child develop well emotionally, physically, and socially is creating a space where they are comfortable and they can feel that they are loved. I am confident that you are all doing this every day, all day. Second, it is important for them to have a day that is as scheduled as much as you can handle. This schedule gives your child something to remember and something to look forward to. Also, having objects and activities available for them that they can be the “author” of. Meaning, an activity that can be given to them and they can decide how they’d like to go about it. This begins the process of having a sense of agency.
Once they have a sense of security at home, the next thing that is easy to worry about is socialization. You all send your child to school so they can learn to socialize with other children and adults. Your child will not lose what they have already gained at school, so please do not worry about that. And though school is beneficial in so many ways, the most important place for a child to learn how to socialize is right at home. The relationships and interactions they see every day at home is what they will take into the world and will bring back to school once we return.
The last point I’d like to touch on is attachment styles. All of your babies are developing their styles of attachment based on their interactions with those people they are closest to. Having a secure attachment style is important for a child to develop and there are just a few things you can do to help them gain that.
- Being sensitive to your baby’s needs. Reading your child’s signals and reacting to them accordingly and quickly helps them learn to communicate well and comfortably.
- Pay attention to your baby’s interests.
- Stay in sync with one another. As you engage your child in play, watch as they change their interests and do that with them. It will make the experience rewarding for the both of you.
- Positivity. Positive emotions, even when we don’t feel very positive, creates confidence in the child that you are happy taking care of them.
- Emotional Support. Reacting to your child’s emotions and not downplaying what they are feeling helps them be more comfortable to communicate with you and hopefully with us once we return.
Going through quarantine and social distancing is not easy on anyone. But your babies are amazing, you are all amazing parents and we cannot wait to see how much they have grown once we return. I love you all. You’re doing an amazing job.