If you’re new to attachment parenting, I strongly recommend reading this quick introduction by API. Here is a quote from this introduction that I love and wanted to share:
Constant physical contact
Sometime around the end of last summer, Kale stopped wanting to be worn. He actually started to resist being worn by me much earlier - probably around 12 months - when he really started walking. Kris continued to walk him to sleep in the sling most nights, until he was about 15 months. We were warned by many that once Kale started walking, he wouldn't want to be close to us as much. That he'd want to be exploring and showing his independence. So it was with a heavy heart that we packed our carriers and slings away. However, Kale continued to want to a lot of physical contact. He absolutely loves to explore and be independent, but he also loves to cuddle, and be carried, and to hold our hands. He likes to sleep with his head on our shoulder, tucked in under our wing. A lot of people have seen this and remarked that they wish their kids still liked to cuddle or nap in their arms. I totally think that wearing Kale for the first year and bedsharing with us has resulted in a two year old that still loves being close to his parents.
Respond to tantrums and strong emotions
Kris and I do our best to respond to Kale's emotions with sensitivity. It's not always easy. Actually, it's almost never easy - but we try our best. As a result, we haven't seen a lot of tantrums from Kale. Actually, I don't think I've ever seen a full-on tantrum. We've seen some meltdowns and some fits, but nothing I'd call a tantrum. When Kale was around one year old, Kris and I made a commitment not say 'no', but to explain why he couldn't have or do something. That lasted for about two months, until we realized we were being naive. Expecting a one year old to understand even simple sentences to explain things, regardless of the empathy in our voices, was expecting too much. It's taken us some time to figure out how to respond to strong emotions - how and when to say 'no' and when to hug and hold and explain things, but we're getting there. Again, I feel like everything we did in the first year - babywearing, breastfeeding, bedhsaring, etc. - helped us build a strong connection to Kale that has kept us in tune with his needs as he grew into toddlerhood.
Provide a safe environment
In terms of a physical environment, we made some changes when Kale started walking to make sure it was safe for him. We actually got rid of a ton of furniture that had sharp corners or could fall over on him (I realize we could have made it safer, but we also wanted to open up space for him to run around). But more than the physical space, we have done our best to make sure Kale always feels safe. We don't push him into situations that he's uncomfortable with just to make someone else happy. We hold him when he's nervous and wants to be held. We say "that's ok" when he doesn't want to do something or talk to someone. At the same time, we encourage him to take risks, to move outside his comfort zone, to be independent. When Kale enters a new environment, we can see the wheels turning. He assess the situation, looks to us for reassurance, decides he feels safe, and jumps right in. Many advocates of attachment parenting saying that it promotes independence and I 100% agree with that and feel that as a toddler, we've seen truth to it.
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