In Creative Parenting,
William Sears, a pediatrician and well-known author defines attachment
parenting as an uninterrupted, nurturing relationship, specifically
attuned to a child's needs as he passes from one developmental
stage to the next.
During pregnancy, the
baby moves with the mother’s body, in tune with the working
of her mother’s body. She grows and thrives, and receives
sustenance from her mother. They grow closer together as the mother
becomes attuned to her baby’s movements, and the child also
adjusts. Birth is a natural separation of mother and child. The
important factor, when practicing attachment parenting though,
is to make sure that the break is not abrupt. It is natural that
the mother keeps her newborn baby close to her, and continues
to love and nurture her outside her body as she did within it.
In Creative Parenting, William Sears, a pediatrician and well-known
author defines attachment parenting as "an uninterrupted,
nurturing relationship, specifically attuned to a child's needs
as he passes from one developmental stage to the next."
So how does a mother
achieve the uninterrupted, nurturing relationship that will put
her in tune with her child?
One of the ways to
help you become attuned to your baby is baby wearing. Your baby
could be fed and nap in the sling, and you could do most of what's
needed doing without putting her down. Babies thrive on human
contact; research indicates this, and it makes good common sense.
empathetic to your child
Dr. Elliott Barker
is a Canadian psychiatrist and the Director of the Canadian Society
for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children describes attachment
parenting as having two facets: Being willing and able to put
yourself in your child's shoes in order to correctly identify
his/her feelings and being willing and able to behave toward your
child in ways, which take those feelings into account.
Imagine that you are
a small child, learning about the world. It’s by turns exciting
and scary, familiar and new. There are people who love and whom
you love back, and new people whom you don’t know at all.
You are learning to do things, and sometimes you fail, but at
other times you succeed. However, most of the time, you cannot
communicate your feelings and fears, because you don’t know
how to. That is a glimpse of a child’s world. The challenge
for you as a parent is to put yourself in your child’s shoes.
If you did not have a voice, and could not communicate your daily
challenges, how would you feel? If you were faced with daily challenges
and learning experiences, and you did not have the experience
and the knowledge of how to solve these challenges, what would
Another key feature
of attachment parenting is breast-feeding your child. Breast milk
is the most natural food available for a child. Breastfeeding
times also provide the time for mother and child to reconnect.
a controversial issue for many reasons. The central point to this
issue is that mothers work outside the home, bringing the much-needed
income. Also, a breastfed child is dependent on her mother for
nourishment, which means that the mother cannot be away from her
child for an extended period of time. Another issue regarding
breastfeeding is that parents are unsure about when it is a good
time to wean a baby. Attachment parenting advocates believe that
children grow at their own pace. When your child is ready to abandon
the breast, she will let you know. Interesting enough, that may
be sooner than most people would expect.
For decades, one of
the most basic issues governing sleeping arrangements is that
the baby has her own nursery. Respected parenting experts were
adamant that sleeping with a child was unhealthy and passively
abusive. Parents were told that letting the child sleep in the
nursery would enable her to sleep more soundly, uninterrupted;
will not be in danger of being suffocated (parents could roll
onto the baby) and will not develop an unhealthy dependency on
her mother. What these experts ignore is that, Western society's
deviance from the still-widespread practice of sleeping with children
was a relatively recent development. Only 150 years ago in the
United States, it was generally assumed that young children would
sleep with their parents or other relatives. Most families could
not afford separate sleep quarters for everyone in the household.
Additionally, co-sleeping was a reliable way to make sure that
the youngest family members stayed warm.
Mothers who sleep with
their baby can quickly change a wet nappy or feed the child, without
the child spending too long crying for attention. You don’t
have to get out of your warm bed to take care of your baby either!
One of the key issues
raised by attachment parenting opponent is about the marital relationship.
Is it to be ousted out of the bedroom? Are the children in danger
of becoming sexualised while they are still young? And when will
the child leave the marital bed? Is the family bed going to become
a feature in a married couple’s lives until the child becomes
advocates say that taking the marital relationship out of the
bed, to other venues in the house makes it spontaneous and exciting.
They believe that children are not in danger of becoming sexualised,
as any sensible parent knows not to bring sex into a child’s
life at an early age.
One of the concerns
regarding attachment parenting is that the baby may become too
close to her mother, and with the child’s growth towards
independence being stunted. Every loving and responsible mother
wants her child to grow to become a well-adjusted, fully functional
member of society. That is why mothers who practice attachment
parenting also encourage their children towards independence.
Children need no pressure
to grow into adult people. They need a patient, gentle presence.
Your child may take longer than societal norms dictate to become
more independent, or she may turn out to be an old woman waiting
to face life’s challenges. What is needed from a mother
to learn and understand what her child needs and to provide for
that need? What they will not need is our forcing them into growth,
nor will they need our pulling them from it wilfully. It is a
delicate dance, of careful attention but of resilient flexibility.
A mother attuned to her child will be able to read her child’s
cues much more accurately, and respond to them.
In conclusion, you
should remember that the key factor when you are trying to find
the best way to raise your child is to ask yourself, ’what
is the best option for my child? What will provide the most nurturing
and loving environment in which she can grow?’
care & work
Child care and early education are critical to the success of
two national priorities: helping families work and ensuring that
every child enters school ready to succeed.
need for child care has become a daily fact of life for many parents:
Of all mothers in
the labor force, 65 percent have children under age six, and 78
percent have children age six to 13.1 Additionally, 59 percent
of mothers with infants (children under age one) are in the labor
In 1999, only 23 percent
of all families with children younger than six—and only
one-third of married-couple families with young children—had
one parent working and one parent who stayed at home.3 The majority
(55 percent) of working women in the United States bring home
half or more of their family's earnings.
The proportion of
single mothers with jobs, after remaining steady at around 58
percent from 1986 to 1993, increased sharply to 71.5 percent in
Every day, 13 million
preschoolers—including six million infants and toddler—are
in child care.6 This is three out of five young children. Plus,
millions more school-age children are in after-school and summer
activities, and nearly seven million children are left home alone
after school each week while their parents work. Additionally,
children enter care as early as six weeks of age and can be in
care for as many as 40 hours per week until they reach school
Child care arrangements
of children younger than five with working mothers in 1995:
of child care settings:
Child care centers:
Care provided in nonresidential facilities, usually for 13 or
Family child care providers:
Care provided in a private residence other than the child's home.
Care provided within the child's home, by a person other than
a parent or relative.
Relative care: Care
provided by an individual related to the child.
care helps shape children's futures and is key to school readiness:
The research is clear
that the quality of child care has a lasting impact on children's
well-being and ability to learn.9 Children in poor-quality child
care have been found to be delayed in language and reading skills
and to display more aggression toward other children and adults.
A study released in
1999 found that children in high-quality child care demonstrated
greater mathematical ability, greater thinking and attention skills,
and fewer behavioral problems than children in lower-quality care.
These differences held true for children from a range of family
backgrounds, with particularly significant effects for children
academic performance is enhanced by attending formal child care
programs of at least adequate quality, according to several studies.
Children attending such programs have been found to have better
work habits and relationships with peers, and to be better adjusted
and less antisocial, than children who spend their out-of-school
hours alone, in front of the television, or informally supervised
by other adults.
struggle to find and afford quality child care environments:
Full-day child care
easily costs $4,000 to $10,000 per year—at least as much
as college tuition at a public university.13 Yet more than one
out of four families with young children earns less than $25,000
a year,14 and a family with both parents working full-time at
the minimum wage earns only $21,400 a year.
Even though some child
care subsidies are available for low-income families, funds are
severely limited. Currently, no state serves all families eligible
for assistance under federal guidelines. Nationally, only 12 percent
of eligible children who need help are getting any assistance.
Despite nearly 35
years of investment in Head Start, the program still serves only
about three out of five eligible children.
In 1998-99, 42 states
had prekindergarten initiatives. Yet most serve only a small percentage
of children at risk, and a number lack adequate quality standards.
Many initiatives support only part-day programs that fail to meet
the needs of parents working full time.
Good care is hard
to find. Studies have found that much of the child care in the
United States is poor to mediocre. One four-state study found
fully 40 percent of the rooms serving infants in child care centers
to be of such poor quality as to jeopardize children's health,
safety, or development.
Another national study
found equally alarming patterns in family child care programs.
This study found that over one-third of the programs were rated
as inadequate, which means that the poor quality was enough to
harm children's development.
Hairdressers and manicurists
must attend 1,500 hours of training at an accredited school in
order to get a license, yet only 11 states require child care
providers to have any early childhood training prior to serving
children in their homes.
child care is hard to find in a marketplace where child care teachers
and providers do not earn as much as funeral attendants ($17,320)
or garbage collectors ($25,020).21 Child care workers earn an
average of only $15,430 per year. In addition, child care workers
tend to receive no benefits or paid leave.
of after-school programs leaves school-age children home alone:
Nearly seven million
children are home alone after school each week23 during the afternoon
hours when juvenile crime peaks.
A 1990 study found
that eighth graders left home alone after school reported greater
use of cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana than those who were
in adult-supervised settings.
activities can be particularly difficult to find for children
in low-income families. Children living in families with a monthly
income of under $1,500 are less than half as likely to participate
in enrichment activities such as sports, lessons, or clubs as
are children living in families with a monthly income of $4,500
Age: 3 Year Old
and downstairs without support
Throws a ball overhand
Moves forward and backward with agility
Rides a tricycle; pedals
Improved small motor control such as holds pencil and utensils
Can dress and undress self (may need help with zippers, buttons)
Builds a tower of more than six blocks
with toilet training. Accidents may still occur for a while.
Encourage independence. Buy clothes that your child can pull on
Play make-believe with your child. Encourage a creative imagination.
Allow your child to help with chores, putting toys and clothes
away, clearing the table and making the bed.
Teach your child his first and last name.
Read to your child and encourage your child to tell your stories.
Play outside (throw and catch balls, ride a tricycle, play in
a sand box). Encourage physical activity.
Allow times for your child to finger-paint, draw on paper and
other art activities.
Let your child brush her teeth every day
Give your child choices and let him choose.
Encourage your child to count items, name counting (may know some
but recognizable pictures
Copies shapes (e.g. circles and squares)
Speaks clearly enough that strangers can understand
Speaks in sentences of 3-5 words
Correctly names some colors
Begins to understand concept of objects and tell what color things
Listens to and recalls parts of a story
Has mastered some basic rules of grammar (e.g. plurals)
with other children
Increasingly inventive in make-believe play
Becomes more independent
Assumes a gender identity
Uses words to express emotions
To Expect: Sharing
an important skill to be mastered. Although preschool children
are egocentric by nature, at age three, they can begin to understand
the concept of sharing. Learning to share does not come naturally,
but you can help your child learn.
to Encourage Sharing
Do not force
your child to share. When friends come to play, help put away
the special toys your child does not want to share.
Help your child select "share toys" that won't break
or get used up.
Buy or collect toys that are good for sharing such as construction
sets, blocks, swings, slides, puzzles, toy telephones and tea
sets. When there are plenty of items to go around, it is easier
Model sharing. Offer to share with your child. Ask your child
to share and give praise for being a good sharer.
Play games which require taking turns and cooperation.
Don't expect perfection. Learning to share takes time and practice.
props (dress-up clothes, play kitchen items, etc.)
riding toys, tricycle
balls of all sizes
play dough, crayons, paint, paint brushes, chalk, etc.
large piece puzzles (3-6 pieces)
music tapes, tape player
4 Year Old
hops, somersaults, may be able to skip
Throws and catches a ball
Swings and climbs
Cuts on a line
Copies geometric shapes (circles, squares, triangles, etc.)
Draws a person with some body parts
Dresses and undresses by self
Usually toilet-trained completely
Uses fork, spoon and dinner knife without assistance
Read to your
child every day. Visit your local library and encourage your child
to choose books. Encourage your child to tell you stories.
Say nursery rhymes and fingerplays together. Sing songs.
Allow your child to practice writing. Have your child copy shapes,
letters and numbers.
Foster your child's creativity by allowing her to paint and color.
Provide materials such as play dough, chalk, glue and crayons.
Allow your child to use scraps to make collages.
Praise your child's accomplishments. Foster independence by encouraging
Encourage physical activity by playing follow the leader (run,
jump, hop, skip and swing).
Provide multicultural experiences and foster an attitude of acceptance
Expand dramatic play by providing a variety of props for themes
such as grocery store, beauty salon, restaurant and birthday parties.
of a story, tells own story
Says name and address
Can count ten or more objects
Correctly names at least four colors
Combines two or more sentences
Understands meanings of words
Makes of words and rhymes
Asks questions (Why? How?)
Follows simple rules
and Emotional Development
Likes to imagine
and is able to distinguish fantasy from reality
Likes to sing, dance and act
Is able to play with a group
More likely to agree to rules, can begin to understand games
Learns to express sympathy
Shares with others
Seeks out playmates
Shows more independence
Aware of sexuality
To Expect: School Readiness
school readiness involves good health, being socially and emotionally
mature, having good language, problem solving and creative thinking
skills, and a general knowledge about the world.
your Child by Focusing On
Be sure your child eats nutritious meals and gets plenty of sleep
and exercise. Regular medical care and immunizations are important.
Regular dental checkups should begin at age three.
Social and Emotional Preparation: Children are often not socially
and emotionally mature when they enter kindergarten, but it is
important that they have an opportunity to begin developing confidence,
motivation, independence, curiosity, persistence, cooperation,
self-control and empathy. You can help your child by setting good
examples (e.g. treating everyone with respect and sharing). Your
child will also know if you have a positive attitude toward learning
and school. Encourage self-reliance to foster independence. Provide
chances for your child to socialize with other children and adults
who are not family members.
and General Knowledge
It is important
for children to learn to solve problems and communicate with others.
You can help foster these skills by providing opportunities to
play, answering questions and listening to your child. Reading
aloud and monitoring television viewing are also important.
depends on a combination of many aspects of child development.
It does not mean your child needs to know the alphabet, colors,
shapes, numbers and how to read.
trucks, tractors, trains
dramatic play props
blunt scissors, washable markers, crayons, paint
simple board games
5 Year Old
Can run, hop,
skip and jump
Favors one hand over the other
Has increased poise and coordination
Begins to lose baby teeth and acquire secondary teeth
Dresses and undresses with little assistance (can button and zip)
Can throw and possibly catch a ball
Ascends stairs with alternating feet
and opportunities for your child to run, hop, skip, jump and other
large motor skills.
Give your child opportunities to sort, count and match items in
the house. Let him help match socks in the laundry, count the
number of settings at the table, etc.
Help your child learn to follow rules by playing simple games
in a small group.
Listen to your child. Ask and answer questions. Be honest with
Be understanding of your child's fears and anxieties. Reassure
your child's safety and give lots of comfort.
Give your child praise for good deeds and accomplishments. Be
specific (e.g. "You did a great job putting the toys away!").
Provide a place for your child to be alone and have privacy.
Help your child to express feelings with "I" messages
(e.g. "I feel angry", "I feel sad", etc.).
Has a rapidly
expanding vocabulary (approximately 2000 words)
Knows full name, address and age
Can order events (before and after)
Loves to learn
Knows basic colors
Can repeat stories and likes to tell stories
Can usually separate fact from fantasy
and Emotional Development
Has a basic
sense of right and wrong
Cooperates and takes turns, but doesn't always like to
Protects younger siblings
Invents games with simple rules
Can be bossy
Understands when he/she is being praised or punished
To Expect: Off to Kindergarten
from child care to kindergarten can be scary for children. Entering
a new school with unfamiliar faces can produce terror and clinging
in a youngster who was happy and independent in child care.
anxiety" is normal for children at this age, just as it is
for toddlers. Some signs of stress include changes in sleeping
and eating habits, being unusually quiet, and clinging when it
is time for you to leave. These signs normally disappear after
your child has been in school a few weeks.
to Make the Adjustment Easier
child for the transition - Talk to your child about the changes
that will take place.
Give a lot of attention to your child.
Reassure your child that learning new things and going to school
is fun. Be positive about school. Be sure your child understands
there will be friends and fun at school. Talk about your own school
Visit the school before classes start so your child can see where
he/she will be going.
Listen to your child-- Be there to answer questions and ask about
the school day. What did your child do and learn and like about
school today? Be interested. Display school work where people
can see it. Praise accomplishments.
Become involved with parent groups at school.
Maintain a routine schedule-- Be sure your child has a regular
bedtime and is well- rested for school. Nutritious meals, regular
medical checkups and daily physical activity will help to keep
your child healthy and ready to succeed in school.
blocks, building sets
scissors, glue, paint, crayons, markers
dress-up clothes and props
bicycle, swing set
OF THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD
shall enjoy all the rights set forth in this Declaration. Every
child, without any exception whatsoever, shall be entitled to
these rights, without distinction or discrimination on account
of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion,
national or social origin, property, birth or other status, whether
of himself or of his family.
shall enjoy special protection, and shall be given opportunities
and facilities, by law and by other means, to enable him to develop
physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and socially in a healthy
and normal manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity. In
the enactment of laws for this purpose, the best interests of
the child shall be the paramount consideration.
shall be entitled from his birth to a name and a nationality.
shall enjoy the benefits of social security. He shall be entitled
to grow and develop in health; to this end, special care and protection
shall be provided both to him and to his mother, including adequate
pre-natal and post-natal care. The child shall have the right
to adequate nutrition, housing, recreation and medical services.
who is physically, mentally or socially handicapped shall be given
the special treatment, education and care required by his particular
for the full and harmonious development of his personality, needs
love and understanding. He shall, wherever possible, grow up in
the care and under the responsibility of his parents, and, in
any case, in an atmosphere of affection and of moral and material
security; a child of tender years shall not, save in exceptional
circumstances, be separated from his mother.
the public authorities shall have the duty to extend particular
care to children without a family and to those without adequate
means of support. Payment of State and other assistance towards
the maintenance of children of large families is desirable.
is entitled to receive education, which shall be free and compulsory,
at least in the elementary stages. He shall be given an education
which will promote his general culture and enable him, on a basis
of equal opportunity, to develop his abilities, his individual
judgement, and his sense of moral and social responsibility, and
to become a useful member of society.
The best interests
of the child shall be the guiding principle of those responsible
for his education and guidance; that responsibility lies in the
first place with his parents.
shall have full opportunity for play and recreation, which should
be directed to the same purposes as education; society and the
public authorities shall endeavour to promote the enjoyment of
shall in all circumstances be among the first to receive protection
shall be protected against all forms of neglect, cruelty and exploitation.
He shall not be the subject of traffic, in any form.
shall not be admitted to employment before an appropriate minimum
age; he shall in no case be caused or permitted to engage in any
occupation or employment which would prejudice his health or education,
or interfere with his physical, mental or moral development.
shall be protected from practices which may foster racial, religious
and any other form of discrimination. He shall be brought up in
a spirit of understanding, tolerance, friendship among peoples,
peace and universal brotherhood, and in full consciousness that
his energy and talents should be devoted to the service of his