Building Self Confidence Starts in Infancy

By Abby Bordnerinfant

Confidence is said to be one of the most important qualities for lifelong success. So, as parents we have to get started early, right! Your child’s emotional connection with you begins in pregnancy and develops rapidly in the first two years of life. This is the foundation for building confidence. The psychological patterns of attachment and bonding are supported by a parents’ ability to reduce stress in their infant by meeting the physical, emotional and security needs.

From this healthy foundation, he will be able to experience optimal brain and nervous system development as he grows into adulthood. Additionally, from these positive early life experiences, your child will have an overall feeling of safety that results in an eagerness to explore, the development of healthy coping skills, and feelings of both trust and empathy for others.

Tips for supporting healthy attachment and bonding:

  1. Hold and cuddle your baby. Touch is reassuring to your baby and provides a feeling of security.
  2. Make eye contact. Gaze into your baby’s eyes when feeding, playing and changing diapers; share facial expressions of joy and excitement.
  3. Watch and listen to your baby. Try to notice her early cues such as back arching, hand sucking and grunting so you can quickly meet her needs and avoid excessive crying.
  4. Comfort your baby every time she cries. When your baby cries, it is a signal that she needs you for food, comfort or reassurance.
  5. Speak in a warm, soothing tone of voice. Connect with your baby by singing, storytelling or babbling.
  6. Maintain realistic expectations of your baby. Your baby cannot soothe himself or verbally tell you his needs until he is one year or older. Until then he will completely rely on you to help him.
  7. Practice being fully present. Give your baby your full attention periodically throughout the day. This may mean being free of distractions such as cell phones and television.
  8. Practice being self-aware. Notice when you are tired, anxious, angry or frustrated, and take care of yourself. You are better able to meet your baby’s needs when you are aware of your own needs.

With a secure attachment from the start, your baby will learn to:

  • Trust and rely on you
  • Look to you for support and comfort when she is sad, scared or unsure
  • Feel confident and able to explore her surroundings
  • Develop skills that will lead to better emotional regulation and positive learning experiences
  • Be reassured and confident throughout her life due to her early connection with you
  • Experience resiliency by growing up with a foundation of healthy self-esteem.

Finally, attachment and bonding support optimal brain development, as healthy brain pathways are laid with your positive interactions. This is the foundation for healthy self-esteem. As parents, we all want the very best for our children. This is a terrific place to start!

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