Children grow from love

When you are pregnant, you are swamped with must-have baby wipes, stomach lotions and baby food processors. All well and good, but how do you ensure your child is well prepared for the big world in twenty or so years? Your role as a mother (or father or carer) is crucial, not that fancy stroller. Your love and attention may be more important than you think.

The advice to ignore or suppress children’s emotions is now a century old. Recent scientific research shows the opposite is true: it is actually beneficial for cognitive and emotional development to cherish young children.

Smallsteps childcare

“Do not allow mothers-in-law and neighbours who think they know better to drive you crazy. But work on your child’s ‘egoic resilience’,” says pedagogue Janneke van Lummel. “Trust your instincts.” Respond if your child desires contact and initiate contact yourself. Feed your child when it is hungry, comfort it when it cries, be tactile, play and sing. That strengthens the bond. Scientists confirm that it is not at all ‘good for little lungs’ to leave a baby to cry and that an angry child derives greater benefit from a cuddle than from time out.

Egoic resilience!?
A child with egoic resilience is able to adapt to stressful situations easily. That sounds like an indispensable quality in our rapidly evolving society. Sooner or later, your child will encounter small and large setbacks. You can ensure your child is able to deal with those. 

The term egoic resilience was coined by development psychologist Marianne Riksen Walraven. “Well coordinated parent-child interactions influence brain development throughout the whole of early childhood and thus later functioning,” Marianne asserts.

Broccoli in the curtains
“Contact, comfort, trust and security are very important,” says Janneke. As a mother, you sense that intuitively. But broken sleep and social pressure to be a good mother, partner and girlfriend, and broccoli in the curtains, sometimes make it a challenge to always respond calmly and patiently.

Think about egoic resilience. Print it on a romper if need be. Breathe in, breathe out. And remember that broccoli stains are not at all that noticeable with the current urban jungle interior trend.