In my previous post, I proposed that Building a relationship with your child is the key to raising an intelligent and socially adept human. This post suggests ways parents of children zero to eight years old can build a relationship that will impact their children’s emotional and intellectual growth.
Ways to Build a Relationship With Your Child
Be responsive, smile, touch, hold, and kiss: We were naturally made for love, warmth, and affection. Brain growth is stimulated and growth hormones are released when babies are held and loved on by caregivers. When you respond to your baby’s smile and gestures, your baby learns how to engage in two way communication and begins to think logically. The ability to think logically promotes intelligence.
Don’t believe the lie that crying toughens up the child and your baby is only smiling because he/she is passing gas. Your baby’s smile and body movements are intentional, it is known as primary intersubjectivity. You can read more on the provided link. When a child is consistently ignored or not responded to, the child’s brain picks up such type of response as normal. The natural tendency to reach out and engage with others gets shut down. Consequently impacting the child’s personality.
Hold, love, kiss, hug, smile at, and respond to that child!
Engage in physical and pretend play: If your child resists physical play, take your time and find out what type of play your child prefers. These type of play will help your child become more aware of self and others. You don’t want a self absorbed child, one who is book smart but socially awkward. Encourage your child to imagine things by engaging in pretend play and asking his/her opinion. It helps him/her to become a critical thinker with the ability to empathize with others. If your child can imagine how someone else feels and come up with a way to react, that child is becoming emotionally intelligent.
Play with toys together: While your child may need time for personal exploration, playing with toys together will create emotional experiences that have an impact on the brain. This is perhaps how your child learns to share his/her toys with others. By playing with him/her, you model sharing and social interaction with others. I will give you an example: When playing with musical toys, my little one knows how to skip songs and play songs he has seen mommy and daddy respond to. If we never took the time to play along, those songs he chooses to play will only be songs. There will be no social or emotional experience/connection attached to them. I hope you can see what I mean.
Toys are important, but they are not as important as interaction with mommy and daddy or other caregivers.
I believe some of you are already doing these things. Keep up the good work! If you ain’t, it’s time to ask for help and do something.
As a Christian mom, I ask God to teach me how to connect with my child and help me raise him to become an intelligent and God-fearing human. You can do the same. The spiritual lesson here is that a relationship with God is more important than the things we get from serving him. Your relationship with your child is more important than the fancy things you are striving to buy for him/her.
References and Suggested Readings
Fraiberg, S. H. (1977) Every child’s birthright. New York: Basic Books.
Greenspan, S. (1999). Building healthy minds: The six experiences that create intelligence and emotional growth in babies and young children. New York, NY: DaCapo Press.
PS: I would like to hear your views on this subject. Please leave a comment and share ways you are building a relationship with your child(ren).