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Coaching Babies?

Whether we are aware of it or not, we parents coach our babies in emotional intelligence from day one. The idea is to nurture babies in such a way that they feel the world is a safe place in which they are loved and can get their needs met, physically and emotionally. The development of the brain is influenced by the interactions infants have with their environment, namely their caregivers. Leaving infants to cope with their big feelings alone hinders the ability to manage emotions in the future. In order to learn how to regulate emotions using emotional intelligence, babies first need to co-regulate with a parent. They learn by being responded to in a calm and compassionate way.

What is emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence has to do with our ability to regulate, as in manage, our feelings. We learn how to stop before acting on our emotions and can calm ourselves down. This is not to say we avoid feeling emotions but that we learn how to react appropriately to situations that push our buttons. We do this by developing awareness of our feelings and how they manifest in the body. You have noticed that babies express their feelings and needs with their bodies: tensing up, crying, and thrashing their legs when angry and upset, cooing, relaxing, and making eye contact when happy.

What about parent burn-out?

We cannot respond to all our baby's needs immediately all the time because we are human and babies have a lot of needs. In addition, nuclear families in which one parent is the primary caregiver are not conducive to meeting needs and keeping your sanity. When we have the inner and outer resources, we take advantage of those moments to be emotionally present for our babies. When we do not, we forgive ourselves and practice self-care to re-energize.

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