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From the moment your baby is born, positively engaging with them is really important to help them feel happy and loved. It’s also crucial to how their little brains develop. Pulling funny faces and speaking to them in a tuneful voice isn’t just playing – it’s a vital way to help their minds grow and develop.

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Having a baby or toddler in the house can make you feel pressure all the time. You’ll have to deal with sleepless nights, feeding, keeping them warm and comfortable. It can feel overwhelming. On top of that, it’s natural to worry so much about the practical things that you feel like you aren’t giving them enough attention.

By taking time to make sure you are okay, you can free up space for you to be with your wee one in a more relaxed frame of mind. Your attention is the best gift you can give your wee one. By playing or chatting with them and comforting them, you’re supporting their development.

Just listen to what you think they are trying to tell you and be there for them. Positive, loving relationships are so important right from the start. Listening to your baby and responding back to them helps to build their social and emotional wellbeing now and in the future. We have lots of information and tips to help you give your wee one everything they need to grow and develop into happy people.

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“You can never give your baby too much attention. However, it's important that the attention you do give is tuned into their cues and signals. They sometimes feel stressed by too much stimulation and may want to turn away. Your attention is then a quiet soothing attention rather than a playful one. Even thinking about them while they're sleeping seems to help their wellbeing and development.”

In this video from Inspiring Scotland Dr Anne McFadyen talks more about how connecting with your wee one is so brilliant for their development.

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How a few healthy habits can support your child’s wellbeing

From our morning coffee to an after work grocery run, adult lives are filled with everyday tasks and habits that keep us on track. We don’t even notice we’re doing some of them.

Daily habits (with some flexibility) are important for your little ones too. Routines for wee ones might look a little different but they are just as helpful for their little minds. In the first six months or so it’s really important to be responsive to what your baby needs, feeding them whenever they show signs that they’re hungry and letting them sleep when they’re tired. But as they get older you could try starting to build regular healthy habits around these important areas:

  • Meal and snack times and the places you feed them
  • Nappy changing routines
  • Bathtime and getting dressed
  • Bedtime patterns (sorry, they won’t return the favour!)
  • Play time, music and creativity.

For babies and toddlers, the more predictable you can make their worlds the safer they will feel. Building healthy habits is something you can continue to do as they grow up. It will help young children make sense of the world around them and understand what is expected of them.

Young children can even learn to predict changes to their routine before they happen. This helps them manage their emotions if things do go off track a little bit. And that can make the years to come a bit less stressful for you as a parent too!

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