API Principle #6: Provide Consistent and Loving Care

Attachment Parenting International offers 8 parenting principles they believe to be the foundation of developing a healthy attachment with young child. The sixth principle is to Provide Consistent and Loving Care. API recognizes that young children thrive when their day to day interactions are full of love and consistency. A baby feels safe and secure when there is a predictable rhythm to their day and a predictable response to their needs.

One important way to ensure a child’s daily care routine gently and lovingly addresses their needs is to let the child create the schedule. Rather then relying on a clock to inform you if your child is hungry or tired, learn to read your baby’s subtle (or sometimes not so subtle) cues. Over time you will probably observe a pattern and can anticipate baby’s needs. For example you may notice your baby likes to take a short mid-morning nap on most days or that your baby is typically ready to go to bed for the evenings around the same time each night. You can use this information to create a routine for your baby, however remain flexible as a baby’s sleep and hunger needs change frequently throughout the first year of life. Creating a daily routine that is reflective of baby’s needs is an important foundation of the sixth API principle to providing consistent and loving care. Ideally a parent provides of bulk of baby’s daily care routines and interactions in order to foster a strong bond. They suggest “exploring a variety of economic and work arrangement options to permit your child to be cared for by one or both parents at all times” (Attachment Parenting International, 2008).

However API does recognize and understand that there are times/circumstances when separation from a parent is necessary. Therefore they offer some practical suggestions for making separations go smoothly for both parent and child. One main consideration is selecting who will care for your child in your absence. Optimally you would find someone who supports the 8 principles of Attachment Parenting and infuses them into how they care for your child. Choosing someone your child already has a bond with such as a extended family member or close family friend will help make separation easier for your child. If this is not an option, encouraging your child to form a bond with a new care provider is important. This might be a gradual process, so if possible ensure a positive relationship is formed prior to long periods of separation. For example you might ease into using a new care provider by first having them care for your child while you are nearby or for short durations. Additionally API states that “it is critically important that parents who are separated from their children spend very focused and intentional time reconnecting with their child after separation” (Attachment Parenting International, 2008). Breastfeeding offers a wonderful opportunity to physically connect with your child as does co-sleeping and babywearing.

What ways do you practice Attachment Parenting Principle #6, Provide Consistent and Loving Care, in your family?

-Sarah

Tags: API, attachment parenting international, care routine, consistency, loving care, parenting principles, separations, sixth principle

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