Understanding emotional needs of a baby is important especially when the children are 1-3 years old. They are unable to communicate clearly with parents or caregivers about what they want or need.
Let’s us imagine, if you are in your baby’s shoes, and you want something which other people may not understand what you want, you will get frustrated too. Similar to our babies, if they cannot tell you verbally, they will show signs they are frustrated or show tantrum.
Babies will go through a lot of time, emotion and feeling that they themselves do not know how to handle and have much control over them. Let us understand what are the emotional needs of a baby so that we as parents know how to handle them to get through this phase. Patience and understanding are greatly needed for their healthy mental development for the first 3 childhood years.
Emotional needs of a baby
Babies when they grow older, they may have their own thoughts and wishes needed to be understood. As they have limited vocabulary to express what they need, they may get quite frustrated and start to act up.
Sometimes, it takes long time for us to understand their emotional need but usually you go through hard time with your little ones before you manage to understand what they want.
Nowadays, parents with a busy schedule often neglect in terms of emotional nurturing that all kids need to strive and grow well. Some parents think that their children have to be independent enough from young age in hopes that they will be more competitive and successful in future.
Some parents do not have enough time and patience to deal with little one’s tantrum and end up shouting and yelling which will apparently give negative impact on their emotional development.
Remember, our response can have deeply powerful impact on our child’s behavior. When you stay calm under pressure of tantrum, you little one will eventually learn from you.
What do babies want?
Babies have strong need for love. Babies also cry when they need something. When they reach toddlers’ stage, they even shout and yell if you do not understand what they want. It is quite normal when they want to get attention and start to freak out.
Look for two things first. Are they hungry? Are they tired? These two are the biggest trigger of tantrum. If the meltdowns often happen around the same time each day, such as before feed time or nap time, offer them meal slightly earlier and prepare them for a nap.
When your child need something, he will cry his lung out just to get it. In this case, what you can do is:
- Stay calm. Deliberate calm tone will help prevent things getting out of hand. Keeping yourself cool and talking in a soothing voice may sound too good to be true but expert insisted, when comes to this situation, raising voice may do more harm than good.
- Diverting the center of attention. Get the child away from the topic or a distressing place. Due to children have very short attention span, diverting their attention to something they like to do or offer them their favorite snack may help to cool them down.
- Give a hug. Give a firm hug even though they do not show sign of having one or not in the mood for hugs. Your angry baby will still love to have it which will also help to cool him down.
- Encourage your baby to use body languages or simple words to tell what he wants. It is the good time to teach your child to put feeling into words especially you know the reason of tantrum.
- Sometimes it is good to let the angry child in a safe environment to get his anger out in a non destructive way. He will eventually learn to pull himself together and regain self control.
- Get yourself down to your child’s eye level and talk in a calm voice to tell him/her the reasons why he/she is not allowed to do so and so. When the child is in the middle of meltdown, he/she may not listen to you. Wait until he/she is slightly cool down.
If you child need a cuddle, please do not put him down. They want to be loved and they will feel safe and secure when they are with their parents. By giving him enough security and love, it will eventually build up his self-esteem.
Babies will feel safe and secure whenever they are with their parents or caregivers. Somehow, a child has to go through separation when they reach certain stage, for example, when they will be sent to a daycare center or when they are ready for school.
Some parents will send their babies off to daycare or nanny when babies start to recognize people and feel shy when they are approached by strangers. How do you handle if your child is anxious about you going away and they will be left alone with a bunch of strangers?
For professionally trained teachers and experienced nannies, they know how to handle the emotional needs of a child who is new to the environment.
For parents, it is best to inner talk with your baby about your intention to send him/her off to school example. You can talk about the reason why we send him/her off to school, time when your baby need to be apart, when you will be back to pick him up and so on.
While your child is with other caregiver or teacher, let him/her bring along a favorite toy or item from home (it can be a pillow, blanket or even mummy’s shirt!) This will help your little one feel connected to home while waiting for you.
Always promise of coming back for him and pick up around the same time everyday. They will eventually understand if it has become part of the routine.
It is better for not feeling nervous yourself when you leave your child with another person. Children are able to sense that and may not want to stay away from you.
Leave the place after you say goodbye. Avoid lingering around too long as it may gives hope to the child that he can still stick around each other longer each time.
Some parents often overlook their children’s emotional needs because they have a busy working schedule and in hope that their kids will not get “spoiled”. One point which i need to highlight here is neglecting emotional nurturing will not make your kids happy.
Taking care of your babies emotional needs will help them gain self confidence and promote positive self-esteem which are essential for their positive growth.
Do share with us your experience about babies emotional needs. Do you think taking care of emotional needs of a baby will bring advantages or disadvantages? Let’s comment in the comment box below.