Maximize Love, Manage Stress

Staying emotionally present for your child increases their happiness, strengthens their emotional health, and builds self-control skills.

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Moment of Gratitude

Take a moment to think about a few things that make you grateful right now, big or small. Reflect and enjoy that feeling for a few minutes.

Go Easy on Yourself

Life can feel overwhelming, and we all make mistakes. Focus on the big picture and be gentle with yourself when things don’t go as planned. Ask for help. All parents need help.


Testing limits is a natural part of learning. Focus on the things your baby can do instead of the things you don’t what them to do. If necessary, try redirecting their behavior with another activity.

Have a Routine

Routines help babies learn the rhythms of life. Once your baby is a few months old, have routines for daily activities like feeding, naps, bathing, and bedtime. Keep in mind that routines change as your baby gets older.

Role Model

Your baby learns how to act by watching you. Model the values and behaviors you want to pass on to them, like being kind and generous, or handling challenges calmly (just do your best).

Describe Other People

Build your baby’s awareness of other people and children by describing their feelings and behavior. “Jade is laughing because the puppy licked her face.”

Put Words to Feelings

Pay attention to your child’s sounds, movements, and facial expressions. Put words to their feelings, preferences, and needs. “You were scared when the dog barked.” Or, “You like that carrot. You took two big bites.”

Reassure When Nervous

Your emotions affect how your baby feels about a situation. If you have to separate from your child, talk and smile to reassure them. Say “Mommy/Daddy will be back” so they learn to connect that promise with your return.


Take time to care for yourself, even if you only have a few minutes. Call a friend, take a walk, stretch, eat healthy food, breathe fully, or start a hobby. Talk to your doctor if you often feel sad or stressed.

Cheer Them On

Encourage your baby when they try new things. Reassure them that you are there if they look at you or gesture for help. “I see you pulling that car.” Give a big smile and kiss when they succeed!

Comfort Them

Comfort your baby when they get fussy or cry. They might be tired, hungry, or uncomfortable. Try rocking them or singing a familiar song. It will take time to learn their signals and what works best.

Play Together

Hold your baby close, smile, and make silly sounds or faces. Join them on the floor and play games like “peek-a-boo.” Take a break if they seem overwhelmed or try to look away.

Respond to Them

When your baby tries to get your attention, respond with loving eye contact, words, and actions. You can’t always drop what you are doing, but let your baby know that you hear them by talking back.

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.

Plan to Avoid Stress

What situations tend to be stressful? Think about those situations ahead of time and plan how you can improve or avoid them. For example, avoid trips to the store right before your child’s nap time.

Why This Matters

Infants and toddlers thrive when their world feels loving, safe, and predictable. When you show love and respond to your child’s needs, they learn they can count on you. By responding in ways that fit their emotions, you teach them to manage their feelings and behavior. Feeling secure in their relationships gives them confidence to explore their surroundings and cope with challenges. 


Young children are affected by your emotions, whether you are happy or upset. So, it is important to find strategies that help you cope with stress. Caring for yourself helps you stay calm and patient with your child.