Welcome to February edition of the Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival, hosted by Authentic Parenting and Mudpiemama. This month, participants have looked into the topic of “Fostering Healthy Attachment”. Please scroll down to the end of this post to find a list of links to the entries of the other participants. Enjoy!
We can't speak of attachment within a family without mentioning the bonds between siblings. Having a new family member arrive is an event that changes the entire family dynamic, and where it is a serious change for parents, it is even more drastic for an older child.
Fostering connection between siblings is something we - as parents - should be mindful about. Cultivating a healthy sibling relationship starts even before pregnancy.
Avoiding jealousy issues
Jealousy, as much as it is seen as inevitable in our culture, is not a necessary evil, there are things that can be done in order to prevent these negative feelings from arising in your older child(ren).
- Before planning a sibling, talk it through with your older child or children. Most often, children don't get a voice in family sizing, but why not? The family unit influences them as much, and probably even more, than it does their parents, so talking about your wish for another child seems reasonable to say the least. And don't despair if your child says no to a sibling, they may change their mind at a later time.
- Prepare them for the arrival of a sibling. Talk to your child about all it entails to have a baby brother or sister. Stick to the reality! It's important that your child knows what to expect. You could do this by reading books about caring for babies.
- Involve them in your pregnancy. Personally, I think it's best to let your child know very early in pregnancy that you're expecting a baby. This way, your child will understand the changes in your body and your behavior and has the time to mentally prepare for the arrival of a sibling.
- Have your child around at birth, but make sure they are informed and prepared about what will happen at that time and that they are free to go somewhere else if they aren't comfortable.
- Involve them in the preparations for the baby's arrival. Prepare the baby's clothes together, go shopping for baby items together, let them pick out items for their little brother or sister.
Helping your children connect
Where the mama gets a flood of lovey dovey hormones when the baby arrives, for the rest of the family, this small new creature might not be accepted and loved instantly.
|Image: Starmama on Flickr|
- Don't expect too much. If your child isn't too fond of his new sibling right away, give them time to adjust. Pushing your kid to establish a connection will only have him turn in the opposite direction.
- Involve the older sibling in the care for baby. Your older child can help pick out baby's clothes, help put on a diaper, give a massage...
- Establish new routines. Create moments of togetherness for the whole family, but also schedule moments of one-on-one time with the older sibling. Daddy can take care of baby while mommy reads a bedtime story, and big sister can have breakfast with daddy while mom and baby snuggle a while more in the family bed. Think daily massage as a communal routine, or family bath time.
- Teach the right gestures right away. Children, especially smaller ones, may have difficulties applying the right touch when handling the baby. Show them often what gentle touch means and don't get cross with them if they are a little bit too rough. Their coordination isn't quite as fine tuned yet, so it may require lots of repetition.
- Last, but probably most importantly, allow your child to hold and carry and care for the baby. Forbidding snuggles, cuddling and holding will only frustrate your child, and if well supervised and informed, even a small toddler will be capable to hold the new baby.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
- "Keep Them Close and Let Them Go: Fostering Healthy Attachment As They Grow" — Helen at Zen Mummy wonders how to maintain a healthy attachment as our children become more independent.
- "Honesty (With Your Children) is the Best Policy" — Mandy at Living Peacefully With Children shares how honesty with her children is helping to build an authentic relationship which will last through the teen years and beyond.
- "Fostering Healthy Attachment?" — Momma Jorje discusses how she is building a foundation of attachment with her children and how she hopes it serves them in their lives as they grow into adults.
- Beyond Bookend Parenting — Marisa at Deliberate Parenting describes their efforts to maintain their toddler's attachment to her working parent through play and routines throughout the day.
- Have You "Huggled" Today? — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling shares how "huggles" work like magic in her home.
- Your Childhood=Your Child's Childhood? — Amy at A Secure Base examines the research about how our attachment experience can shape our attachment with our children.
- List-Making Activities to Celebrate Family Connections — Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares some family list-making activities that will help you reflect on what you love about your family and can spark ideas for future family fun.
- How To Keep in Touch With Distant Grandparents — Lauren at Hobo Mama offers several tips to foster connection with relatives who live far away.
- Beyond Bonding: The Power of Positioning in Babywearing — Steffany, a babywearing educator, guest posting at Natural Parents Network, explains how optimal positioning in quality carriers can help babies' physical growth, brain development, and overall attachment.
- Playing Follow the Leader — Zoie at TouchstoneZ has learned that the more she meets her children where they are rather than where she would like them to be, the greater the elasticity of their bonds are.
- The Evolution of Attachment: Parenting Without a Roadmap — Sheila at A Living Family reflects on her family's recent generation of mothers and shares how she is working to make an evolutionary leap towards forming healthy attachment.
- Facilitating Sibling Connection — Laura at Authentic Parenting gives a set of pointers on how to facilitate sibling bonding.
- The Farm in my Bed — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama discusses fostering children's healthy attachment to "lovies" and comfort objects..
- My Early Morning Shadow Valerie at Momma in Progress shares a few ways she maintains a strong connection with her almost six-year-old daughter.