ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Just like adults, babies experience a wide range of emotions daily. It’s a parent’s job to help them sort through the difficult ones. But do you know how to help your infant cope? New research offers some clues.
Happy … sad … scared … angry. Babies have all types of emotions. Now a new study shows parents can help their little ones manage those big feelings. Researchers studied 135 moms, dads, and babies and found when parents used an approach of talking called “mind-mindedness,” their babies had better emotion regulation at 12 months. Mind-mindedness techniques involve acknowledging and verbalizing an infant’s emotions. Comments like “you want daddy to pick you up,” “you’re excited to play,” and “you don’t like it when mommy does that” are examples.
Scientists found moms and dads who used more mind-related comments had 12-month-olds who had larger declines in heart rate variability during stressful situations and higher baseline variability. This suggests the babies were better at regulating their emotions and coping with a challenging situation. So try using some mind-mindedness when you talk to your baby. It could pay off later!
It’s important to note that a parent’s mind-emotion related comments are particularly beneficial when the parent is in tune with the child’s actual state of mind. So the parent should project their own state of mind or agenda on the baby.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Julie Marks, Writer; Roque Correa, Editor.
Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.