maximize Love, Manage Stress
Babies and toddlers thrive when their world feels loving, safe, and predictable. Respond with smiles, words, and touch to help them see, hear, and feel your love. You will help them develop a sense of security and self-control.
With Your Infant (0-12 months)
- Comfort them. Comfort your baby when they get fussy or cry. They might be tired, hungry, or uncomfortable. Try rocking them or singing a lullaby. It will take time to learn what works best.
- Respond to them. Answer your baby in a loving voice when they make a sound or movement.
- Play together. Hold your baby close, smile, and make silly sounds or faces. Play games like “peek-a-boo.” Take a break if they seem overwhelmed or try to look away.
- Have consistent times and ways of doing daily activities like feeding, bathing, reading, and bedtime. Routines help babies and young children feel safe and know what to expect. They also help adults manage stress.
With Your Toddler (12-36 months)
- Snuggle up. Hug and cuddle with your toddler so they feel safe and loved.
- Involve them. Invite your toddler to help with everyday tasks, like handing you clothes for the laundry.
- Talk about feelings. Help your child describe how they feel. Let them know that all feelings are OK, and that you are there for them when they are happy or upset.
- Offer choices. Offer choices like what to wear or eat, but give a limited number of options. For example, “It’s time for a snack. Do you want an apple or grapes?”
Remember to take care of yourself.
When life gets stressful, it’s important to take care of yourself so you can be there for your child. Try sharing tasks with friends or family members, taking walks, doing a hobby you enjoy, or practicing deep breathing. Try different strategies and see what works best for you. Be sure to ask for help when you need it, and talk to your doctor if you often feel sad or stressed. All parents and caregivers need help.
More tips and resources
- Download the full Basics Maximize Love, Manage Stress tip sheet.
The Adirondack Birth to Three Alliance is proud to be a part of the Basics Learning Network as well as a community partner of Talking Is Teaching.