"The degree of warmth and affection, particularly between mother and child, can curb a child's stress reactions and generally make a child more resilient to stressful and difficult situations later on." WHO CARES : Dr Aric Sigman. p.12.
Most couples realise how important it is to spend sufficient time together to build a close 'healthy' relationship. The requirement for a young child is the same - to build a 'healthy' child there needs to be lots of affection and attachment time between mum and child, especially in the preschool years.
Oxytocin is known to be the bonding hormone which is released in a mother's brain as she begins to breastfeed her baby. This hormone causes a mother to be affectionate, protect and care for her baby. It is important that this close mother-baby bond be sustained through a baby's early years, as the amount of affection affects the baby's brain chemistry, influencing their future capacity to deal well with stress.
"A recent study entitled 'Mother's affection at 8 months predicts emotional distress in adulthood', found high levels of affection between mothers and infants were associated with fewer symptoms of distress 30 years later, compared to offspring of mothers who showed low or normal levels of affection. The findings of this study strongly support the view that early life experiences influences adult health and emphasise the importance of a strong nurturing relationship with the biological mother(Maselko et al, 2010)." p.12.
However, if very young children spend most days in daycare separated from their mother, they are not experiencing this essential bond, required by a child for their wellbeing.
Affection and attachment time can not be scheduled into certain hours when a mum is available. A baby or child needs their mum spontaneously
- to smile or comfort them when they fall and hurt themselves
- to cuddle on the couch or tumble on the floor
- to know it is Mum who made the sandwich and handed it to them
- to know Mum is in the next room, not too far away, and is accessible.
"REAL QUALITY TIME IS USUALLY UNPLANNED, undefined and can occur at all times of the working day, as well as the highly inconvenient middle of the night. IT'S A FEELING, NOT AN APPOINTMENT. Quality time is not a substitute for the sheer amount of time children need every day from their parents." p.13.
THISWEEKWITHTHEKIDS ~ check yourself - is the time you spend with your preschoolers based on what suits YOU or what your child needs?