The short answer is your child needs and deserves lots and lots of comfort, but more than that children need to feel secure and loved.
No surprises in that, I hear you say. But before you start feeling the pressure and weight of parenthood, especially if you’re a new parent, there are ways to reinforce the feeling of comfort and security without handing your entire life to your child.
Sounds harsh, and we don’t mean it to sound like a lesson in tough love, but some thoughts on reality and real parenting.
Create a Routine
Everyone likes to know where they are and what to expect, and this includes small children. A routine is the quickest way to make your child feel secure, especially at bedtime.
Creating a routine doesn’t need to be over-complicated: a practical exercise can be as simple as knowing that at 6 pm or whatever time suits your family, it’s bath, brushing teeth and bedtime.
It’s also a tool in your parenting armoire that means you can do all the other things you need to do during your busy day.
Surround Your Child With Familiar Things
Children will naturally gravitate towards their favorite toy or blanket – remember Linus from peanuts who said to Charlie Brown, “ Listen, Charlie Brown, that blanket soaks up all my fears and frustrations”. And there you have it! It’s way more than just a blanket.
Just remember to buy two. Two of whatever blankets or soft toys your child decides to give their attention too, nothing is more heartbreaking than a lost favourite blanket or favorite toy left in the park, dropped out of the buggy and left behind. Believe me when I say I know this pain from experience.
Comfort and Security Aids Independence
Before you know it, your enthusiastic toddler will be going to nursery, and then to school, and this happens quicker than you would imagine.
To help this transition, and make the change as easy as possible provide a comfortable environment.
Our brains are full of ‘what ifs’ and this is true for children. So get there first and fill in the blanks, a trip to a new school or nursery, gradual introduction to a childminder or caregiver. Pre-empt any feelings of insecurity when introducing a new family member, sibling or even a dog by talking about them in advance.
Choose your comfortable place and fill in the blanks. Even if you think they are too young to understand, there’s usually a picture book that will help you to explain.
There’s Always Tomorrow
As a parent, especially a new parent, it’s easy to feel that you haven’t achieved those milestones that everyone, including the health visitor mentions. Keep this on your mind, each child is different, and they will get there in the end.
Don’t compare yourself to others, especially during these days of social media. You can be sure that the golden family only post the highlights and edit out the bits that are real life.
No-one ever said parenting was easy, but it is rewarding. Remember there’s always tomorrow – and the day after that – as Linus says “Happiness is a warm blanket”.