Positive attention is when you respond to your child with warmth and interest. It helps your child feel secure and valued. Find out how to make the most of daily moments to show positive attention to your child.
What is positive attention?
Positive attention is the way you show delight in your child and warmth in your relationship through:
Why positive attention is important
From birth, children need experiences and relationships that show them they’re valued, capable human beings who bring pleasure to others. Positive attention, reactions and responses from key grown-ups help children build a picture of how valued they are.
Your child’s self-image builds up over time with positive, loving messages from you and other important people in his life. A healthy self-image is very important, not only for your child’s relationship with others, but also for his confidence as he learns about the world.
Your child’s feelings of security and safety come from her interactions with you and the other people who care for her. If you reassure and support your child when she’s frightened, uncertain or faced with a new or unfamiliar situation, she’ll feel safe and secure.
All children do best in an environment where they’re supported, encouraged and enjoyed. They grow and develop through repeated, positive interactions in their first relationships.
How to show positive attention: all ages
You have many opportunities to give your child positive attention in your daily interactions together.
Daily activities like changing a diaper, supervising a bath or walking to school let you connect with your child in meaningful ways. For example, just giving your toddler cuddles and tickles while you’re drying him after a bath is a way of showing positive attention.
No matter what your child’s age, there are simple things you can do every day to send the message that your child is special and important. For example:
There are also ways you can show positive attention to children of different ages.
Newborns and babies: positive attention tips
From the moment they’re born, children are paying attention to what you say and do – and how you say and do it. Even before babies can understand and use words, they respond to your tone of voice, gestures, facial expressions and body language.
Here are ways to give your baby positive attention:
Toddlers: positive attention tips
As your child gets older, she understands more of what you say, as well as how you say it. Here are some tips for positive attention at this age:
Pre-schoolers: positive attention tips
There are so many ways you can give your pre-schooler positive attention as he learns about the world. For example:
School-age children: positive attention tips
Even though your child’s world expands when she goes to school, your warmth, love and positive attention are still the biggest influences on her development.
Try these ideas:
Before you correct your child, ask yourself: does it really matter, or could I just let it go? If you’re always correcting your child, this sends the message that your child isn’t capable or valued.
When it’s hard to be positive
It’s not realistic or even normal to be positive all the time. And your child will cope just fine if you’re occasionally insensitive, unavailable or distracted.
It’s what happens over time, not each particular incident, that makes the difference. If your child gets mostly positive attention from you over time, he’ll feel loved and secure.
When parents are regularly distracted or can’t focus on their children’s needs, children can be negatively affected. If this begins at infancy and keeps happening, babies as young as six months can show signs of stress. This can affect children’s health and wellbeing in the early years as well as in the future.
If many of your daily interactions with your child are negative, or if it’s hard for you to feel or act positively with your child, it’s worth seeking professional help. Start by seeing your General Practitioner (GP) or a counsellor. These professionals can help you fix things with your child and get your relationship back on track – your relationship might even end up stronger.
Cradle cap is the oily, scaly crust that babies sometimes get on their scalps, in their body folds and on their torsos. Although cradle cap looks uncomfortable, it doesn’t usually bother your baby.