Maximize Love, Manage Stress

Children thrive in a loving, predictable and safe environment. Your warm caregiving and support encourages your child to master new skills, successfully cope with stress, and builds a loving relationship between you and your child that produces positive results throughout your child's life!

Caring for your child starts with caring for yourself. It's important to find practical strategies to show love more and stress less. As your child grows, feeling secure in their relationship with you gives them the confidence they need to explore, learn and take on life’s challenges.

When you express your love and respond to their needs, you teach them that they can count on you. When you are upset or stressed, they feel it too.

Watch the video and explore our tips below to learn everyday ways to maximize love and manage stress.

Tips

Our favorite tips on how to Maximize Love and Manage Stress:

Hold, kiss, and cuddle

Provide lots of loving attention and touch. Babies don’t get spoiled, so there is no need to hold back on showing love.

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.

respond to them

Answer your baby in a loving voice when they make a sound or movement.

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.

have a routine

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.

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.

snuggle up

Hug and cuddle with your toddler so they feel safe and loved.

encourage them

Be supportive and encouraging when your child tries new things.

involve them

Invite your toddler to help with everyday tasks, like handing them 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?”

set basic limits

Focus on safety-related rules like not hitting people. Say "no" in front of the thing you don't want your child to do, then distract them with another activity. Use the same rules consistently so your child learns them. Do your best to stay calm.

Sign up for Basics Insights

Basics Insights is a free text messaging program for parents and caregivers of infants and toddlers that sends science-based tips to boost your child's development.

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