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Build a relationship in everyday moments

Babies are born ready and wanting to build a relationship with you. The relationship between you and your child in their first 2 to 3 years shapes their mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Each interaction and activity you share with your child builds and deepens their relationship with you. The way you listen and respond to your child, and how they respond to you, influences how they behave and communicate.

Helping your baby to feel loved and that they matter teaches them that relationships are good. This helps your child to form new relationships, such as with teachers, friends and eventually partners.

You can help to build a loving and trusting relationship with your child by:

  • giving cuddles
  • touching with love
  • chatting
  • reading to your baby
  • making eye contact
  • playing
  • comforting them
  • reading to them

Behaviour as your child grows

Your child may behave in ways you find challenging as they grow from baby to toddler. They may suddenly be determined to feed themselves or decide what to wear, for example. They're not being naughty, just developing their independence and curiosity.You can encourage your child to take the lead in their development if you know what behaviour to expect at each developmental stage.

Related topic

Your child's social, emotional and behavioural development

Page last reviewed: 20/11/2018
Next review due: 20/11/2021